Tamil Nadu: School teacher burns camphor powder on students’ feet as punishment

She punished them for failing to answer questions during the inspection of an Assistant Education Officer

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Published: June 11, 2016 2:17 pm

On Thursday, 13 students of a government primary school in Pali village in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu suffered severe injuries after their class teacher burned camphor powder on their feet to punish them for failing to answer questions during the inspection of an Assistant Education Officer (AEO).

According to a senior police officer, Vaijayanti Mala, the teacher, initiated the punishment after she reportedly faced flak from a senior education department official during an inspection held at the school on June 7.

“The officer from the department had visited the school and had an interaction with students. The officer had reportedly scolded Mala after her students failed to answer some questions the officer had asked. This had made her so furious that made her punish most of the students in her class,” said the officer.

N Elango, District Education Officer (Elementary) denied reports of the inspection.

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“There was no such inspection. She punished the students for failing to answer some questions that she had given them as homework the previous day. The school had a total of 51 students and the 13 students who were punished were all studying in fourth and fifth classes. Police has summoned her today for questioning,” he said.

Out of the 13 students who had undergone the bizarre punishment, nine suffered severe injuries.

“Four students had escaped from the burn injuries probably as she failed to set the camphor powder on fire,” the police officer said.

S Mars, Chief Educational Officer of Villupuram said Mala has been suspended by the department.

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  1. Mohammad Bin Tughlaq
    Jun 11, 2016 at 11:52 pm
    The article says that the 13 students were studying in 4th and 5th cles. Does it means there was only one teacher who was supposed to manage both the cles? The punishment meted out to the students was too horrific and the teacher should be properly punished. But the bigger question is about the education system itself. Lack of properly trained teachers who have to manage more students than one can manage properly all contribute to these acts. AEO's denial that the school was not inspected should be verified. Something must have made the teacher to act in such a cruel manner. The students should be asked whether there was inspection. Just because some student did not do homework will not make a teacher to act like this. I am not telling that the AEO is guilty as it is his or her duty to inspect schools. What is needed is to have well trained teachers with a flair to teach. Unfortunately with many educated unemplo around those who chose the profession need not be suited for that work.
    1. Sheik Mohamed
      Jun 11, 2016 at 5:40 pm
      For this inhuman act Mrs.Vijainthi should be sacked immediately from the job. We are ashamed to have such type of teachers particularly of women in Tamil Nadu.
      1. V
        Vasudevan Venugopal
        Jun 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm
        This incident is reported to have taken place near Villupuram, the present district headquarters. Formerly this place was part of the wider South Arcot District where corporal punishment of students in Government run schools has been widely prevalent for long. The students are generally from lower economic strata and do not have conducive atmosphere for study at home. Most of the the teachers are from "backward" and downtrodden communities. The teachers have not been trained adequately to be kind and counseling. Because of the severe nature of the incident this has come out.
        1. Y
          Jun 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm
          Any opportunity for casteist polictics? News item did not make it clear.