HC call for confidential monitoring of sexual abuse in schools

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Madurai, Apr 17 (UNI) The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has called for setting up of a confidential and an independent monitoring system in government and private schools in Tamil Nadu to curb sexual abuse and harassment of girl students.

Dismissing a bail application filed by a school teacher, who was accused of sexually harassing a 13-year-old girl student here yesterday, Justice K N Basha said the court had no hesitation to state that sexual assault by teachers on students of a tender age must be viewed in all seriousness and dealt with iron hand by the authorities concerned.

He said teachers were the guiding stars, custodians and guardians of students in the school premises. Public opinion was that children were safe in schools. But unfortunately frequent incidents of sexual abuse of children in schools caused serious concern, threatening to shatter the picture of a happy Indian family.

The judge pointed out that a National Crime Records Bureau report reflected the frequent sexual abuse of children and most of the incidents went unreported. Another worrying factor was that many such children were driven to suicide. Human rights activists were also worried at the increasing incidents of sexual abuse in schools, the judge observed.

He also hailed the Tamil Nadu government for abolishing corporal punishment in schools in 2007 to prevent various kinds of abuse against students.

He also commended the state School education department for constituting a complaint cell to provide assistance to students, who faced abuse by their teachers.

The complaint cell had received 255 complaints till December 2006 and 427 between January 2007 and March 2008, the judge said.


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