A clip of six students being forced to stand naked inside the compound of an Andhra Pradesh school as punishment for turning up late for class has gone viral on the social media, spurring protests by child rights activists. The video of the incident, which occurred in Chitoor district, was shot from the window of an adjacent school.
Following protests by child rights activists, the district education officer sent an official to probe the incident. A teacher was taken into police custody on charges of treating minors in an “inhuman” manner, and the state government derecognised the school with immediate effect.
Gauri Sankar, the investigating officer in the case, said the students — aged between nine and ten years — were allegedly stripped as punishment for coming late to class. “Corporal punishment is not acceptable. We have withdrawn the recognition granted to the school and lodged a police complaint,” said Mandal Education Officer Leela Rani, adding that the allegations were found to be true.
Activist Achyutha Rao stated in a letter to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights that meting out such punishment amounts to committing a “heinous crime”. “Incidents like these can have a deep psychological impact on children. They need to be counselled to cope with the trauma,” he told NDTV.
A case was filed under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Juvenile Justice Act. A report is also being sent to the district education officer.
Earlier this month, a private school in Haryana’s Gurgaon suspended a woman teacher for allegedly taping the mouths of two pre-nursery students shut to keep them quiet in class. The teacher said she took the step because the two children were disturbing everybody by spouting “filthy words”.