In Chennai, over a 100 complaints have been received from students across the city. Why? Because in the last week, students from different schools in the city are coming forward and sharing their stories of sexual assault, harassment and even rape.
According to reports, teachers from at least five schools in Chennai have either been arrested or suspended after allegations of sexual harassment.
The most recent #MeToo movement began when students from the city’s Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan School (PSBB) accused a teacher, Rajagopalan of sexual harassment. He was accused of walking in half-naked during a Zoom call, making suggestive comments towards his female students, asking them to accompany him for movies and even sharing pornographic links. After several complaints on social media, he was suspended from school and arrested.
#PSBB— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) May 24, 2021
As of now Rajagopalan has been suspended by the school management.
This was the first story that came up and she clearly says she complained to the Dean and that they’re considering legal action. The management already knew.
That’s all. pic.twitter.com/BaCrWhLaAA
This has given students the courage to speak up about their own experiences, causing a wave of accusations to come into light. Currently, 5 other schools from the city – St. George’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School in Shenoy Nagar, Chettinad Vidyashram, Kendriya Vidyalaya- CLRI, Maharishi Vidya Mandir and Sushil Hari International Residential School, have been summoned by the Tamil Nadu state commission for protection of child rights (TNSCPCR) for enquiries.
I went to “Chettinad” Vidyashram in Chennai and I know for a fact that these caste based schools are highly predatorial and it comes out, ironically, in their effort to be regulatory and prudish about sexuality of their students. PSBB is a symptom of a rotten system. #PSBBIssue— Prerna Subramanian #inquilab 🇵🇸 (@prayernaaah) June 2, 2021
We inspected each of these schools and they have confirmed that they have received complaints from multiple students.
-SCPCR chairperson, Saraswathi Rangaswamy told HT
According to reports, 22 former students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, CLRI have over a span of 18 years, complained to the school’s management about sexual abuse by a Hindi teacher who still teaches there. Many students stated that they switched subjects to avoid the teacher.
#Chennaischools this is my sister’s experience at @ClriKv Kendriya Vidyalaya CLRI. Mahendra Kumar has molested many students and there needs to be action against him. pic.twitter.com/B3kx8UQVNR— Ragamalika (@rgmlk) May 28, 2021
One more student’s experience with Mahendra Kumar of @ClriKv. He’s still teaching there, just FYI. @Janani292 @Chinmayi pic.twitter.com/4yZpTi5doD— Ragamalika (@rgmlk) May 28, 2021
In addition to this, college students are also coming forward with stories. This week alone, a martial arts instructor was arrested following a complaint by a college student. An athletic coach and superintendent in the GST Commissionerate in Chennai, was also arrested after an athlete complained that he had touched her inappropriately during physiotherapy.
Not just sexual assault and harassment, even complaints against the school for casteism and slut-shaming students are being raised on social media. TN Chief Minister, M K Stalin issued a statement regarding online classes in order ensure safety, “All online classes should be recorded and the recordings should be made accessible to the school management as well as a nominee of the PTA immediately.”
This movement has opened a pandoras box. Seeing these students and alum come forward with their experiences, we can only hope that in the future we can create a safe and secure environment for minors in this country. A school is your second home, it shouldn’t be a place to fear.