India has witnessed several cases of sexual harassment at the topmost educational institutions in the past. While some were reported, some went out of sight, perhaps, as many students feared reporting the same.
The sexual harassment case reported in Chennai's PSBB School, which came to light on Monday, May 24, shows us how there is a need to take action against such people and have a thorough check on their educational background before admitting them as teachers or professors.
The case sent shock waves on various social media platforms after it was revealed that a class 12 commerce teacher at this reputed institution has sexually harassed several students while conducting classes online and offline. Here are the following reasons why the recent PSBB case is in the limelight.
How did it start?
It all started when a model and alumni of the school, Kripali shared several Instagram stories and screenshots of conversations between the teacher and the students. The accused spoke inappropriately to the students of the school and also made them feel extremely uncomfortable. Following the allegations on Instagram, over 1,000 alumni of the school wrote to the management, demanding action against the teacher. In their petition, they demanded that the teacher be immediately suspended pending investigation of the allegations.
G Rajagopalan, an accountancy professor of the school, was accused of passing obscene comments at female students, asking them out on movie dates, body-shaming them and sharing pornographic links with them. He also came to online classes with just a towel wrapped around his waist. Ironically, Rajagopalan also happens to be a member of the sexual harassment committee of the school. He was finally suspended on Monday at noon as per an official notice of the school.
He was later arrested under POCSO Act Sections 11 (When a person commits sexual harassment on a child by uttering words, showcasing his body, etc.,) and Section 12 (Whoever, commits sexual harassment upon a child shall be punished with imprisonment), as reported by The New Indian Express.
In addition to this, he has also been booked under IPC Act 354 (a) (Sexual Harassment and punishment for sexual harassment) and 509 (intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any words, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object); under IT Act section 67 and 67(a) (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form).
The accused was arrested by Ashok Nagar All Women Police Station (AWPS) on Monday night after he was questioned by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes against women and children) Jayalakshmi.
The initial disagreement
The management of the school initially disagreed with any such allegations against the teacher and clearly said that such accusations weren't brought to their notice in the past.
Supporters of the accused
Although G Rajagopalan has been called out for his sexual harassment, the 2007 grade 12 batches of PSBB supported him saying he is known to crack these jokes because of his 'enthusiastic' nature. He also wanted to be an essential element of his students' lives. The supporters have also said that this one-sided, toxic social media campaign must be stopped and information needs to be verified properly.
According to an interview with G Rajagopalan by Thanti T.V, he reported that there were a lot of 'black goats' just like him in the school and they would all be called out one day. Rajagopalan also deleted essential information from his phone after the case came to light.
Disregard to the 'Me Too' movement
Several social media users also circulated a video of one of the board members called YG Mahendran who had utter disregard for the 'Me Too' movement. In addition to this, the management of the school, which was started by Rajalakshmi Parthasarthy, popularly known as Mrs YGP, has taken stands that were extremely controversial with regard to the movement in the past.
A video of YGP's son YG Mahendran, who also happens to be a board member of PSBB school, has been in circulation where he is speaking to an actor Sowcar Janaki and shames women for talking about their sexual harassment experiences and saying "Me Too is extremely boring to me." The video also had comments about women hiding from the public view and how 'Me Too' tends to 'break' families and the familial bond.