Suspended, Chennai instructor in cop custody over ‘sexual harassment’

A teacher at a prominent Chennai school was suspended Monday after allegations of student sexual harassment were made through social media posts.

He was taken into police custody later that evening.

The State Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights (SCPCR) has taken action in this case. A senior Chennai police officer said, “We are investigating whether we can track down individual complainants who are willing to make statements (so that an FIR is registered against the defendant).”

The school administration initially issued a statement that the facility has no tolerance for anything that affects the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of students. However, screenshots published online by online complainants indicated that they had contacted the school administration (dean) and that allegedly no action was taken against the accused.

The school then said in the statement: “Contrary to what is mentioned, such allegations have not been brought to the attention of management in the past. However, we take note of the allegations suo motu and will take all necessary steps to address the situation in a free, fair and transparent manner. “

State school education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said Monday that following an investigation, strict measures will be taken against the accused teacher.

A senior police officer who monitored the probe said, “Most of the charges related to sexual advances he (allegedly) made and remarks (made) with a sexual undertone. The defendant was summoned for an investigation. There are many complaints along with screenshots…. Most of the allegations surfaced on social media, especially Instagram. “

The defendant teaches students in classes XI and XII. While several complaints were filed online, police said they are trying to reach some of the anonymous complainants in order to obtain formal complaints for a police investigation.

The allegations first appeared on Sunday evening on the Instagram page of a well-known South Indian model who is also an alumni of the school. After posting screenshots of complaints received from students, she accused the teacher (name withheld as a formal case has not yet been registered) of inappropriate behavior – according to the complaints, the alleged part of sending a link to the porn website to students to invite them to movies, make sexual remarks about the physique of students – police said there have also been complaints about recent incidents, such as appearances for online courses that allegedly only wear a towel and lewd comments on female students.

After celebrities and some well-known social media personalities took up the issue, DMK MP Kanimozhi called for action. On Monday, she tweeted that she will inform the authorities concerned to take action against those involved, as well as the school authorities who have not taken action against the student’s complaint.

While SCPCR was initially denied access to school grounds, the Crime Against Women and Children, a special wing of Chennai City Police, occurred. Jayalakshmi, an SP officer, took command and visited the school on Monday to start an investigation.

Later on Monday, when it became clear that the police were about to open an investigation, school sources published a letter sent to the accused teacher informing him that he had been suspended on “some serious allegations of misconduct. ”

More complaints surfaced after Sunday night from other schools, including students from another city school who claimed a PE teacher molested students and a teacher who shamed girls and flirted with boys. “We’re trying to see if any of them would anonymously file a complaint to register an FIR,” said one police officer.

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