VILLUPURAM: A government school teacher, who was allegedly being harassed by the headmistress of the school, attempted to kill herself inside the school premises, near Chinna Salem on Monday. The teacher, who had left a note on a black board holding the headmistress responsible, was reportedly recovering. A departmental inquiry into the matter was initiated on Tuesday.
According to sources, the panchayat primary school in Kadathur had two male teachers and four female teachers.
Mangai (40), wife of farmer Sithiraiselvan (53), of Ervaipattinam Kattukottai near Kachirapalayam, was working as a teacher here for the past 10 years. Students, alumni and locals say that the teacher, who knew practically everybody in the vicinity owing to the long service, was well loved.
Three years ago, Pushpa Theras joined as the headmistress at the school. Initially, Pushpa and Mangai began as friends. However, parents and students continued to treat Mangai differentially, causing a fallout between the two, sources added.
Pushpa allegedly began pressuring Mangai with extra classes and too much of work. Mangai reportedly requested Pushpa to reduce the number of classes to the usual count and upon being turned down, filed a complaint at the Chinna Salem police station. A conciliatory meeting was called and the two reportedly made peace. It was said that Pushpa, who was livid that Mangai took the issue to the police station, allegedly began harassing the woman even more after the incident.
A depressed Mangai went out of the staff room during the lunch hour on Monday, but did not return even after a long time. Teachers, who were sure that their colleague had not left the school premises, organised a search and found one of the classrooms locked from inside.
When they forced the door open, they found Mangai unconscious inside. She had also written a note on the black board naming the head mistress, making it immediately apparent that she had attempted to commit suicide. She was rushed to the government Kallakurichi hospital, where her condition was said to be improving.
The Chinna Salem police, who registered a case, found a bottle of sleeping pills inside the classroom. The note on the blackboard, which said that she was choosing death over harassment and held the headmistress responsible, was also recorded.
Later in the hospital, Mangai admitted that she had brought the pills when she came in the morning and said that she had taken 10 pills. She affirmed that the harassment on the hands of the headmistress was the reason behind the attempt.
A departmental inquiry has been ordered into the matter. Education department officials from Chinna Salem, under zonal assistant education officer Sandhapan, began inquiries on Tuesday and recorded the statements of Mangai and her colleagues. Sources from the education department said that further action will be taken after a report is submitted.