Thursday Jul 02, 2020
LAHORE: The director of the private institute in Lahore, Nighat Ali said that the five employees who were accused of harassing female students have been fired from their jobs, whereas, the principal, administrator and coordinator have also been suspended.
She added, an inquiry committee has been constituted to probe further into the matter.
"The school has full authority to take legal action against the culprits and if the charges against the dismissed employees are proven, action will be taken against them," Ali said.
The Punjab government will hand exemplary punishments to the perpetrators of the Lahore private school harassment incident, said the provincial government's spokesperson Musarrat Cheema on Wednesday.
Speaking to Geo Pakistan, Cheema said that the government has taken action against the harassment case reported in the private school.
However, she emphasised that the government will come to know about such incidents only when they are reported as Punjab has a population of 110 million hence it is impossible for the provincial government to know about every harassment incident.
Cheema said that as soon as the girls spoke up, the school administration took action and the Punjab education minister and chief minister took notice of the incident as well. She added that an inquiry committee has also been formed to investigate the incident.
“I appeal to all children that god forbid if you go through something like this then you need to point it out as currently there are a lot of harassment laws under which the culprits can be punished,” Cheema told the people through the Geo News programme. She added that whatever decision the committee takes will be shared with the nation.
The spokesperson also commented that this incident will send a stern message across the board, adding that suspension of those found guilty was not enough and action beyond this point will be taken against them.
“Yes, these culprits will not only have to let go of their jobs but they will also be punished according to the circumstances,” assured Cheema.
When asked about what the government plans to do in cases where students cannot speak up, Cheema stated that it was the “responsibility of the parents to educate their kids”.
“If their kids go through such an incident, they should inform the administration and also tell the government so that we can remove those evil humans, who are in the form of teachers,” said the spokesperson.
However, she once again pointed out that it was the “main responsibility" of the kids, students and their parents to speak up. She added that after that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that the accused get punished.
Cheema also stated that it was also the responsibility of the schools and their administrations, which are charging exorbitant fees from parents, to check what teachers are being hired.
Responding to a question about the lack of female representation in harassment committees, the spokesperson agreed that it was “very important” that they there women are present in such bodies so that those girls can speak their mind. She added that the current committee investigating the matter has one female member.
On Tuesday, four employees of a private school in Lahore, including a teacher, were sacked by the administration after they were found guilty by the school of sexually harassing female students.
Numerous students said that they were being harassed since 2016 but had decided to report the incidents to the management after it became unbearable.
According to the school administration, the four persons against whom the complaint was lodged include a chemistry teacher, an administrative officer, an accountant and a janitor.
Administration Officer Aitzaz, Accountant Omar, a chowkidar named Shehzad and chemistry teacher Zahid Warraich were accused of harassment by female students, some of whom had left school a few years ago and others who were still studying there.
Students said that they had lodged various sexual harassment complaints over the years against the accused but no action had been taken by the administration. Hence some of them were forced to leave the school and seek admission in others.
The administration said that after receiving evidence against the accused, which included videos, photographs and indecent messages sent by them to students, all four persons involved were shown the door.
The students revealed that the chemistry teacher, Warraich, used to harass them by staring and trying to touch them inappropriately. They also said that he tried to sit with them in a manner that made it very uncomfortable for the students to study.
They also spoke of a female teacher in the school who told them about how she was also a victim of harassment by one of the staff members at the institute but instead of taking action against the harassers, she told the students to remain silent.
After the report, the District Education Authority formed a three-member committee comprising educationists and government officers to probe the incident.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also took notice of the incident on Wednesday.
The chief minister directed CCPO Lahore to carry out an impartial inquiry into the incident, adding that harassment of students will not be tolerated at any cost.