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Accused teacher remanded till June 8
A police press release said that the accused, a commerce teacher at PSBB, KK Nagar, was arrested by the Ashok Nagar all-women police on Monday night based on complaints.
A day after the arrest of G Rajagopalan (59), a teacher of Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (PSBB) School, Chennai, for allegedly sexually harassing students, the city police on Tuesday morning remanded him in judicial custody after booking him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, the Information Technology Act, and two IPC sections. A Mahila court remanded him in judicial custody till June 8.
A police press release said that the accused, a commerce teacher at PSBB, KK Nagar, was arrested by the Ashok Nagar all-women police on Monday night based on complaints. During a search at his house, officials seized a laptop and mobile phone. The police are expected to file a petition for his custodial interrogation.
Complaints lodged by parents of several students alleged that Rajagopalan sent inappropriate messages to girl students through WhatsApp. Social media was flooded with the details of harassments, and police sources added that they also received calls from several alumni of the school regarding his undesirable activities. On Tuesday, school principal Geetha Govindarajan, and dean, director and correspondent of PSBB Group of Schools, Sheela Rajendra, appeared before a team of investigators at the Ashok Nagar all-women police station. “We wanted to know why they did not take any action against Rajagopalan despite receiving many complaints,” a senior officer said, adding that strong a message has been conveyed to the management that harassment complaints cannot be taken lightly.
Day after harassment details shock city, students open up on more cases
The arrest of a teacher of PSBB School for alleged sexual harassment seems to have opened the floodgates, with former and present students of various schools have taken to social media to describe their own experiences of sexual harassment by teachers. Most of them alleged that the school managements failed to take any action against these teachers, many of whom are still working.
Prince Gajendra Babu, correspondent of a private school in Chennai, said that it was the responsibility of the principal to frequently talk to every parent and ask about the children’s behaviour and find out if someone was bothering them.
“If they face any issues, we have a committee to resolve them immediately. There are many cases reported in schools/ colleges, but many schools are yet to have a committee to address sexual harassment,” he said. Babu added that every school should counsel students who have faced harassment in private. Meanwhile, several school management and parents are urging the government to form a committee and set up a helpline on which students can open up about the issues they face.
“When the government issued guidelines to form a committee, several schools formed namesake panel. But it remains inactive for years until such incidents come to light. Most of the schools take students’ complaints for granted and act in favour of the staff,” S Arumainathan, president, Tamil Nadu Students Parents’ Welfare Association said. KR Nandhakumar, State secretary, Tamil Nadu Matriculation and CBSE Schools Association, said that both private and government students have been facing harassment during online and offline classes but are afraid to complain to the management.
“At least parents must talk about it even if their wards don’t open up. This should be the last such incident reported in the State,” he added.