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Chennai school teacher accused of sexual harassment by multiple students, police launch probe

The issue came to light after a former student shared the allegations levelled several students on her Instagram account.

Several allegations of sexual harassment against a teacher of a prominent Chennai school were made public Sunday. A police team led by Deputy Commissioner of Police H Jayalakshmi is investigating the case and the accused has been questioned at his residence. The teacher has been suspended pending the inquiry.

The issue came to light after a former student of the school shared the allegations levelled by several students on her Instagram page. She then asked others to come forward and share their accounts of harassment by the same faculty member.

Over the past couple of days, several students shared their ordeal, with one stating how the teacher conducted virtual classes shirtless while another spoke about the way he passed sexual comments including body-shaming students.

One student shared a screenshot of a conversation where the teacher invited her to watch a film and then deleted his message after she confronted him. Another wrote about how the teacher shared a pornographic link on a student group. The teacher has also been accused of inviting students to join late-night video calls.

Multiple screenshots of the teacher’s WhatsApp conversations with students – commenting about their attire – went viral. Students claimed despite several complaints to the management, the authorities refused to initiate any action against the accused.

In a letter to parents, sent by the principal and the dean of the school, the institute said: “… not a single complaint was brought to the notice of the management. The management has zero tolerance towards any improper behavior that adversely affects the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of their students.

“We are taking suo motu action and will take necessary steps to address the situation in a free, fair and transparent manner. The welfare of the students has always been and will be our top priority,” the statement said. The school management could not be reached for comment despite several attempts.

Tamil Nadu Education Minister Anbil Mahesh said the school had been asked to respond to allegations against the teacher. “The school has said they will set up a committee and that this is the first time they have received a complaint of this nature. On behalf of the school education department, a committee has been formed to inquire into the incident and if the teacher is found guilty, appropriate action will be taken. The school correspondence said they have never received such complaints in the past, If there is evidence that the past complaints were neglected by the school management, necessary action will be taken against them as well.”

DMK MP Kanimozhi tweeted: “The sexual harassment allegations a teacher in a Chennai school is shocking. Inquiry should be conducted and action must be taken against those who are involved including school authorities who failed to act against the complaints from students.”

A statement signed by over 1,000 former students of the school has been sent to the school management, and the alumni have called for the immediate suspension of the teacher and an assurance that he does not conduct any classes or evaluate any student pending investigation. The school management has also been asked to ensure that the child protection committee, as well as the gender sensitivity committee, is suitably apprised of the matter and an independent investigation with external members is conducted with immediate effect.

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