Stating that he won’t support “the idea of lesbianism in schools”, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Wednesday said that the education department has sought a report from a girls’ school in Kolkata over media reports claiming that it had forced 10 students to submit in writing that they were lesbians.
The minister also said, according to a PTI report, that such an incident (of lesbianism) was “against the ethos of Bengal”.
On March 8, the students were allegedly made to sign a “confession” letter stating that they were lesbians. On Monday, when their parents met the acting headmistress, a heated argument ensued, followed by a protest outside the gates the next day. They blamed the school for arm-twisting the girls into signing the letter.
“The headmistress had asked them to write on paper that they were lesbians. She also showed us that paper. We had objected to it,” said a parent.
IANS had quoted the acting headmistress as saying, “We called those students and they admitted it. Considering the sensitive nature of the issue, I asked them to admit it in writing. I have got written admissions from all 10 students.”
However, she told The Indian Express, “It is completely untrue. We had found some students indulging in some mischief and only wanted to take the matter up with their parents. However, there was some miscommunication with the parents. We had called the parents of the students to raise the issue, but somehow they misinterpreted the message. Now all issues have been resolved through a meeting. There was no need for the media to get involved as it was not a serious issue. The matter has been blown out of proportion and I will request all not to sensationalise the matter.” The meeting took place on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the state education minister told reporters, “Personally, I will not inculcate the idea of lesbianism in schools.” A PTI report quoted him as saying, “We are not treating the issue lightly. We had not come across such reports at educational institutions in the past … If such an incident (lesbianism) had really taken place that will be against the ethos of Bengal. I will ask the school management what prompted them to seek such an undertaking. I will also want to know why the same school is getting embroiled in controversies repeatedly.” The minister was referring to the arrest of one of the school’s non-teaching male staff on the charge of sexually abusing a Class IX student on February 9.