Two weeks after a physical training teacher at a Kurla school was booked for molestation, the same charge was levelledyesterday against a sports teacher in charge of discipline ata school in Dadar.
The 45-year-old who teaches sports and gymnastics at Sane Guruji English Medium School was booked under section 354 (molestation) of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly kissing a Std III student on her lips.
According to the child’s mother, on Monday, her daughter refused to eat dinner, saying she wasn’t feeling good. When she asked her why, the child told her that for her PT and gymnastic exam, her sports teacher asked her and three others students to give the exam in the school auditorium. After the exam, he asked the others to leave. When he was alone with the child, he kissed her on her lips and told her not to tell anyone.
The day after, the kid went to school to give her History exam. At 9.30 am, when the exam got over, her parents went to the school to pick her up and speak with the principal.
But the PT teacher stopped them at the school gate, saying it wasn’t a good time since students were leaving the school. The pre-primary and primary school, which started in 2008 appointed him as PT teacher two years ago. Later, he started teaching gymnastics, an extra-curricular activity included on demand from parents.
Principal Seema Shinde said, “When the student’s mother pointed out the sports teacher at the gate, the father started hitting him. He dragged him till my cabin and kept beating him. When we tried to stop him, he threatened that he’d hit us too. He then dragged him to the Worli police station. I called the mother and daughter to my cabin and the mother said that the teacher had kissed her lips, which had disturbed the child. But the teacher told us he kissed the child’s forehead and cheeks as appreciation for doing well in the exam.”She added, “The PT teacher’s female assistant for gym class left the school a couple of months ago, and we are looking for her replacement. He was disciplined and soft-spoken because of which he was made discipline in-charge. Soon after, we called a parents-teachers association (PTA) meeting to inform them about the incident.”
The PT teacher’s wife said, “I am also a woman and I will not allow injustice. But my husband is innocent. All the kids in school like him. He shares every detail with me. If he kissed a child to show appreciation, that does not make him a molester. It is unbelievable that someone can file a case against a teacher praising a child.”
Parshuram Kakad, senior inspector of Shivaji Park police station, said, “The teacher has been booked under section 354 (molestation) and is in police custody, since the child’s mother, who is the complainant, gave a statement alleging that he kissed her daughter on her lips. However, the teacher claims he kissed her forehead and cheeks as a gesture of appreciation for doing well in the exam.”
A parent and PTA member said, “It is difficult to believe what happened, as he is a disciplined man. But you never know what can happen.” Another parent said, “It is the school’s fault. We have been telling them to install CCTV cameras since June and they ignored our requests. Had there been a CCTV, they would have had proof of the incident.” He added, “Why would a child lie and fall sick?”
Another PTA member said, “The PT teacher teaches in renowned gymkhanas. It’s hard to believe he can do this. I am also a sportsperson and I know that while teaching there is physical contact with students. That does not mean we are molesting them.”
“We tried to tell her father to give a fair chance to the teacher to tell his side of the story but he was not ready to listen and went ahead and filed a police case. I’m sure the school would have sacked the teacher had he complained. Why place criminal charges against a person when you have not seen the crime occur?”