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Trauma after teacher 'assault'

Durgapur, Nov. 28: A Class VI student of St Xavier’s School in Durgapur has been slipping in and out of consciousness for the past few days after being allegedly beaten up and ridiculed by his Bengali teacher several times for the past three months over an “unsatisfactory” essay.

The boy’s father, an employee of the Damodar Valley Corporation power plant in Durgapur, has lodged a police complaint.

“The physical and mental torture started when the school reopened after the summer vacation. The Bengali teacher had asked the students to write an essay on the topic ‘amar chhelebela (my childhood)’ during the vacation. My son’s essay did not satisfy the teacher and she ridiculed him in class,” Sukanta Basuri, the boy’s father, said.

“I complained to the headmaster in August after the teacher continued to harass my son in front of his classmates,” Sukanta, an assistant controller at the DVC’s Durgapur Thermal Power Station, said.

The headmaster, Fr M.S. Arockiasamy, had called Sukanta and the Bengali teacher, who is also the class teacher of the section where the boy studied, to a meeting and the matter was “settled for the time being”. The boy was shifted from Class VI-B to Class VI-D.

“However, the teacher again started torturing and threatening my son since September-end for complaining to the headmaster against her. On October 31, she dragged my son by the hair and banged his head against the wall after classes gave over, Sukanta alleged.

According to the complaint lodged by Sukanta, the boy has lost consciousness on three occasions this month twice in school on November 2 and 23 and once at home on November 24. Since then, he has not gone to school.

“My son is shattered by the repeated physical and mental harassment by the teacher. I took him to a doctor and he said my son is in trauma. I am taking my son to a neurologist in Calcutta today,” Sukanta said.

“If this torture continues, I will have no option but to withdraw my son from this school,” he added.

Headmaster Arockiasamy said the boy was an “intelligent student”. “His parents told me that he was facing some problems with a teacher. The matter was sorted out through discussions and I changed the boy’s section. We want the boy to get well. Then we will take steps following a thorough investigation.”

The accused teacher said over phone that the allegations were baseless. “The

student was inattentive in class and so I had to scold him. As a teacher, I did nothing wrong. The student and his family have brought false charges against me,” she said.

The boy’s mother, Abhirupa, said: “I am worried about my son’s future. We had admitted him to a good school with a lot of expectations. I don’t understand why my son was singled out by the teacher.”

S.S. Sarkar, the additional deputy commissioner of police (east) of the Asansol-Durgapur comissionerate, said a case had been started. “We have started a case of illegal detention, threatening and mental and physical harassment against the teacher,” another officer said.