Fired for allegedly standing by nearly 40 Std X students who had been sexually harassed by their Algebra teacher, an Andheri school principal now has to suffer the added ignominy of watching the teacher go back to work while she sits at home.
The principal is also concerned about the teacher, who is out on bail, harassing more students as his reinstatement is allegedly in violation of the Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which states that any school staffer accused of molesting or harassing a child should be debarred from work, until proven not guilty.
She has now written to the government against the teacher’s reinstatement. In December last year, some Std X students of Sheth M A High School in Andheri had approached the then principal, Sherly Paul, complaining that their Algebra teacher, Yogesh Mukkal Yadav, had sexually harassed them.
“As the principal of the school and a parent, I took into consideration complaints by over 40 students that they had been sexually harassed by their Algebra teacher, I filed an FIR against Yadav at the D N Nagar police station,” said Paul. After speaking to some students, the police arrested Yadav the same month and charged him under the POCSO Act. He was remanded in judicial custody.
In her letter to Education Minister Vinod Tawde, Paul has claimed that the school, meanwhile, terminated her employment on official grounds after making false allegations against her and that she was actually fired for fighting for the rights and safety of her students.
According to the allegations made by the school management against Paul, many teachers had signed a petition saying they were harassed by the principal and that they doubted her administrative knowledge.
“It was clear that these teachers were forced to sign the petition as some of the teachers told me that in private. An inquiry was conducted where I cooperated fully, only to be insulted every time,” added Paul in her letter. She received her termination letter on July 14, stating that all the charges against her had been proved true in the inquiry and she was asked to leave that very day.
Yadav, meanwhile, was granted bail on April 29 and he was reinstated on November 14. “What’s wrong here is that before the court could give us a clear understanding of whether the allegations made against him are true or false, the school already hired him again.
And, with most of the Std X students who had complained already having finished their schooling, no one is ready to speak against the teacher or the management,” said a parent, on condition of anonymity. “It’s really sad that our students have to once again put up with this man as the school management has reinstated him,” said Paul.
The other side
When mid-day contacted the school management, a spokesperson said that they have followed all the rules and regulations. “The former principal was asked to leave after a proper inquiry was conducted and all charges were proved against her.
The inquiry committee report clearly stated this,” said the spokesperson. Asked why the Algebra teacher had been reinstated even before the case was over, the spokesperson said, “This matter is in court and it is an internal matter. We cannot comment on the same.”