The principal and a teacher of a government girls school in Punjab’s Fazilka district have been suspended for allegedly stripping some students to check who was wearing a sanitary pad, after a soiled one was found in the school toilet, an official spokesperson said on Tuesday.
The orders were issued on Monday night after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh received an inquiry report, which found the incident to be a case of “gross negligence, indifference and insensitivity” on the part of the teachers of the school, he said.
School headmaster Kuldeep Kaur and teacher Jyoti have been suspended on the directives of the chief minister, the spokesperson said.
Charges will also be issued under Rule 8 of the Conduct Rules against the Principal and teacher, who have been placed under suspension, he said.
The incident, which came to light last week, was brought to the chief minister’s notice after a video showed students crying and complaining that they had been stripped by the teachers in the school premises. The teachers were reportedly trying to find out who was wearing a sanitary pad, after a soiled one was found in the school toilet.
The chief minister has issued strict instructions to show no leniency in the matter as the respect and dignity of the students could not be allowed to be compromised at any cost.
Mr Singh has repeated his government’s commitment to provide a favourable environment for education and empowerment of girls.
The chief minister had on Friday ordered a probe into the allegations of stripping made by some of the students and their parents. The chief minister had also directed Secretary Education Krishan Kumar to complete the investigation by Monday and take further action if necessary.
The inquiry report said the students were checked twice on the directions and with full knowledge of the school principal and the teacher.
The girls were checked with their clothes on the first time and then the two women got them checked again by senior girl students of class 8 with their clothes taken off, as per the SDM Abohar, at whose office the statements of Kuldeep Kaur and Jyoti were recorded on Monday.
During the first checking, which was undertaken in the mid-day meal kitchen, Kuldeep Kaur was standing outside during the process, the inquiry committee members, District Education Officer Fazilka Kulwant Singh, Station House Officer Sadar Abohar Angrej Singh and District Child Protection Officer Fazilka Ritu, have stated in their report, the spokesperson said.
The committee unanimously agreed to the “indifference and insensitivity” towards women’s physical dignity expressed by the school staff.
The report further said that though there may not have been any intent of physical/sexual assault, the teachers, at the outset, were found to be “negligent and careless”.