MAINTAINING THAT a “person is innocent until proven guilty”, the management of a premier south Kolkata school, where a four-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by two teachers, “relieved” its principal of her duties on Wednesday. The school, shut since Monday, will now reopen on Thursday.
Parents of the school’s students have been calling for the sacking and arrest of the principal since last Friday, when both teachers accused in the case were arrested, for allegedly trying to hush up the incident.
“The principal has been relieved of her present duty. Vice-principals of the senior and junior sections will form a coordinating committee to run the school from now… Now, she will not be associated with the school. Removal is a legal term, and that process will continue,” a spokesperson of the school told mediapersons.
Claiming that the decision was taken “under tremendous pressure from parents”, the spokesperson added: “Our main aim was to reopen the school, which has been done. Even Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wanted the school to reopen… We have addressed the demands of parents. But we have full faith in the principal, and a person is innocent till proven guilty. So, we will monitor the investigation and take a call accordingly.”
The decision was taken at a meeting between the management, parents, police personnel and chairman of the West Bengal Commision for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) Ananya Chakraborty. The school’s management also assured women attendants will be deployed in school buses, and such vehicles will be installed with GPRS tracking. It also said male teachers will not be appointed in the junior and senior sections of the school, and CCTVs will be installed inside the school and in buses.
After the meeting, members of the guardians’ forum — set up by parents to press for their demands — told reporters, “The management informed the guardians’ representative that the principal has been relieved of her present duties with immediate effect… We will also form a guardians’ forum with representatives of all classes, which will be formally registered. Quarterly meetings of the forum will be held with school authorities.” Another representative of the forum said, “This is our moral victory. We have taken written confirmation from the management of our demands, which they will meet.”
WBCPCR chairperson Ananya Chakraborty said, “It is good news that the school is reopening tomorrow, and the principal has been relieved of her duty.”