A WEEK after three teachers of a school in Mira Road were arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a 9-year-oldGIRL repeatedly for the past one year, hundreds of parents Saturday staged a protest outside the school demanding action against the principal for negligence.
After a meeting with the school management, the principal of the primary school resigned and the trustees of the school issued a letter to the parents assuring that certain safety measures will be adopted.
On November 23, three male teachers, including two drawing teachers who are in their 20s and a 46-year-old physical training teacher, were arrested from their houses in Palghar and Dahanu by the Mira RoadPOLICE after the girl told her parents about being sexually exploited by them repeatedly over the last one year.
The horrified parents had approached the police on November 22, whoREGISTERED a complaint under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The police had also arrested a 49-year-old female attendant who would allegedly take the girl from her class and leave her in a vacant room with the accused teachers. Fearing for the safety of their children, other parents of the school demanded action against the principal. “The unfortunate incidents happened under her watch. When we initially tried to approach her for help, she behaved in a very rude manner and refused to speak to us. She has to be held accountable for what has happened,” said one of the protesting parents.
Among other demands, the parents wanted the management to give a written assurance that such incidents would not take place in the premises again. “We trusted the school so that we could leave our children in their responsibility. After what happened, how can we leave our child there without worrying? We want the management to do aBACKGROUND CHECK on all the male staff members and give us an assurance that this will not happen again,” said another parent.
The four-hour-long protest started at 1.30 pm and was attended by hundreds of people.APART from informing the parents about the resignation of the school principal, the management also promised to take up certain cautionary measures. The 10 precautionary measures that the school intends to follow include no appointment of male teachers from nursery till class VII in the future, the remaining ones will be replaced or accompanied by female teachers, appointment of more women bus attendants, CCTV cameras in buses, classrooms and corridors as well as appointment of female floor supervisors.
The managing trustee of the school said, “We had suspended the three teachers and the female attendant the day after we got to know of the complaint. The parents were demanding the removal of the principal since they had some old grudges with her. We had asked for a week’s time to sort the matter out, but the parents wouldn’t relent. So the principal decided to resign on moral grounds.”
Suhas Bavche, deputy superintendent of police, Mira Road, said, “Hundreds of parents attended the protest and discussed their demands with the trustees. The three accused male teachers and the female attendant were produced in court and their custody has been extended till December 1.”