#MeToo: Chennai school sets up committee after 22 alumni complain of sexual abuse by teacher
A group of 22 alumni of KV, CLRI, wrote a letter to the school's principal T Rama Prasad on Sunday, alleging that a language teacher from the school had sexually abused them while they were students
CHENNAI: After several alumni of Kendriya Vidyalaya, CLRI, raised allegations that a language teacher had sexually abused and misbehaved with them, the school management on Monday said that it has set up a committee to inquire into the matter.
The Tamil Nadu Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TNCPCR) has also taken cognisance of the matter. "We received complaints about the faculty member over mail and we will be investigating the matter. Summons will soon be issued to the school," said Saraswati Rangasamy, the chairperson of the commission, speaking to The New Indian Express.
A group of 22 alumni of Kendriya Vidyalaya, CLRI, Chennai wrote a letter to the school's principal T Rama Prasad on Sunday, alleging that a language teacher from the school had sexually abused them while they were students. Asking for immediate suspension of the teacher, the alumni said, "Now that the school has been made aware of child sexual abuse allegations against Mr Mahendra Kumar, the school is legally bound to inform the police about the same, as per the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 as even apprehension that an offense under the Act maybe committed ought to be reported."
The alumni have also sent copies of the letter to the Tamil Nadu Childline, the CBSE, the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and the Tamil Nadu Commission for the Protection of Child Rights.
Responding to the allegations, the school principal Prasad told The New Indian Express that they have constituted a three-member committee to "verify" the claims. "If children currently studying in our school raised allegations, we would follow different protocols. Since it is alumni, who passed out many years ago, who have raised the complaints, we have to verify the claims," he said. Prasad said that the committee will send its findings to the Commissioner of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, who will decide the course of action.
One of the victims, in the letter, said that the faculty member in question sexually misbehaved with her on several occasions. "On one particular occasion, he grabbed my buttocks in the middle of a class when I went to distribute chocolates for my birthday. This was witnessed by a friend of mine, who had come along with me," she said.
After she spoke about the alleged incident on social media, several alumni reached out to her sharing similar experiences with the same teacher. "In one instance, he has touched a student inappropriately multiple times. He made her sit next to him during tuition classes and touched her in various parts of her body," the alumni said, adding that ultimately the student decided to change her second language at school to distance herself from the teacher.
These instances span a timeframe of close to 18 years. Urging the school to respond swiftly, the alumni said in the letter, "Several current students may be victims of the faculty member and may be fearful of complaining about his conduct or coming forth with a complaint or testifying as witnesses as he is still in a position of authority."