“As a parent, it is chilling to see how the system has failed to protect our children,” writes DMK Leader and Member of Parliament, Dayanidhi Maran in a letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. Maran has written a letter to Pokhriyal after a case of alleged sexual harassment was reported from Chennai’s top school Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School (PSBB).
According to students, Rajagopalan, a commerce teacher has allegedly appeared in online classes bare-chested and even with just a towel wrapped around his waist. The matter of inappropriate conduct goes beyond a student or even a single batch of students. When one of the children posted screenshots of alleged misconduct by the teacher online. Many others including alumni of the school had reported having faced similar problems from the teacher who has been working in the school for several years now. The case led to a massive social media outrage.
Considering that batches after batches students have alleged to have had experienced harassment at the hands of Rajagopalan and despite several complaints, the school had not initiated any action against the teacher, Maran in his letter said, “harassment had been normalized and suppressed by various vested interests within the school”.
Even as the state has already started a probe, he has asked for an inquiry at the union level as well. In his letter, Maran has said, “It is most unfortunate that school management and trustees have been mute spectators to these serious complaints”. He further adds, “As this is a CBSE-affiliated school, the Central Board of Secondary Education must also initiate suitable inquiries into lapses in the safety mechanisms prescribed by them for protection of students on campus and take strict action against those found erring….if it wishes to protect the reputation and integrity of its safety mechanisms”
The teacher has been accused of touching students inappropriately, making comments on students’ bodies, slut-shaming students, asking students for dates, turning up to online classes topless, wearing just a towel around his waist among others. Maran asked Pokhriyal to ensure “suitable inquiries into the conduct of management and trustees” of the school.