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Students Of Chennai School Reveal Harrowing Experiences Of Sexual Harassment By Male Teacher

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PSBB School sexual harassment case: A torrent of outrage and concern has been unleashed online against sexual harassment at the secondary school level, with a male teacher from the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan group of schools under the spotlight.

Students of one branch of this Chennai institution, naming a professor of Commerce, have raised allegations of misbehaviour and sexual advances in the classroom. The revelations have prompted alumni to speak out about similar experiences, with a social media campaign demanding serious action against the accused.

On Monday evening, the school suspended the teacher, pending an inquiry. Full details here. 

From G Rajagopalan walking into online class wrapped only in a towel to sending suggestive texts to girls and pornography links to the class group, claims by PSBB students are grave and serious. Chats attributed to him, now going viral on social media, show him allegedly asking his female students out for movies and send him their photos. Women have also accused Rajagopalan of touching them inappropriately, commenting on their physical appearances, making sexually coloured remarks and slut-shaming them in front of the entire class.

Fashion model Kripali Samdariya, an alumna of this school, is assisting students in sharing their experiences with the public on a wider platform. Through stories on Instagram, Samdariya has highlighted students’ allegations against Rajagopalan and inaction on part of the administration when they forwarded their complaints to higher offices in school.

The school, in a statement, undersigned by the specific school’s Principal Geetha Govindarajan, and the head of the group of schools Dean Sheela Rajendra, has denied knowledge of the issue, saying “these kind of allegations have not been brought to the attention of the management in the past.” The notification further mentions the school is taking suo moto cognisance of the case “take all necessary steps to address the situation in a free, fair and transparent manner.”

SheThePeople has reached out to the school for a statement on the direction of Rajagopalan’s inquiry. The story will be updated in case of a response.

PSBB School Sexual Harassment Case Opens A Can Of Worms: Student Safety In The Spotlight 

Claims of sexual misconduct at educational institutions and harassment of minor students have not been uncommon in Tamil Nadu of late. In October last year, ex-students of Scripture Union schools across the state, made public serious allegations against a preacher, leading to his suspension from employment and later, arrest. SheThePeople had spoken to SU survivors: read here.

Larger attention has been cast on the school harassment case with celebrities like Chinmayi Sripada and Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli bringing notice to it on their social media platforms. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi, taking cognisance of the issue, said Monday, “Inquiry should be conducted and action must be taken against those who are involved including school authorities who failed to act against the complaints from students.”

Several students and alumni are disclosing instances of similar behaviour by Rajagopalan. A statement signed by over 1000 PSBB alumni has demanded Rajagopalan’s immediate suspension and bar from checking or grading students’ papers while under investigation. In the event that the teacher resigns before the completion of the investigation, alumni say he must be made to appear before an enquiry committee and be dealt with under the law. Rajagopalan’s conduct is punishable under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, the letter notes.

 

Some allegations regarding misbehaviour with students also name the staff members at other branches of the school in Tamil Nadu.