Saturday, February 24, 2024

Karnataka: Headmistress booked for forcing students to clean school toilets

Photo by Mwesigwa Joel on Unsplash

In Karnataka’s Kalaburagi, the headmistress of an English medium high school has been booked by the police on Monday for allegedly forcing the students to clean the school’s toilets.

According to various reports, an FIR was filed in the case on January 15, after the student’s parents filed a complaint.

Johra Jabeen, the accused, heads Moulana Azad Model English School, a government-initiated school established across Karnataka under the Directorate of Minorities.

Md Zameer, the parent of a Class 8 student at the school approached the Roza police station on January 13. His complaint alleged that the school’s principal forced the students to clean the school’s toilet and the garden at her residence. 

In the complaint, Zameer also mentioned that his son and fellow students had spoken to him about the headmistress making students do these works over the past several months. 

It has also been alleged that the principal used to intimidate the students to carry out these tasks. Whenever they refused to do the work, they received threats that they would be stripped and beaten in public.

Zameer also claimed that the teacher has even demanded money from each student to issue hall tickets and schoolbooks.

Last week, Zameer went to the school and warned the teacher not to exploit students and termed her doing so “unethical”.

Despite the visit and the warning given, Johra allegedly asked Zameer’s son again to clean her garden on Saturday.

Following the complaint by Jameer, the Roza police registered an FIR under IPC section 506 (threatening with life) and Karnataka Manual Scavengers and Rehabilitation Act 2013.

Roza police station inspector Anees Mujawar told the Hindustan Times that he would visit the school on Tuesday and investigate whether other students were also subjected to any exploitation by the accused teacher.

Meanwhile, the headmistress denied the allegations and called the complaint an organised move to tarnish her image as a good teacher and destroy the reputation of the school, as reported by the New Indian Express.

Incidents of school students being made to clean toilets on campus are becoming prevalent in Karnataka. 

It was in this context, that the Karnataka government issued a circular in December 2023, banning the practice of using students for cleaning school toilets.

“All the government primary and high schools in the state are prohibited from using students for cleaning and maintenance of toilets,” the circular issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy, said.

In addition, the schools were directed to seek help from the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) and utilise the maintenance grants allocated by the government for ensuring proper sanitation in toilets and maintaining hygiene on school campuses.

If any of the school officials or staff violate the law, strict action would be taken against them under criminal law, the circular added.

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