A teacher of of St Columba Girls High School, who allegedly beat up a five-year-old girl, was arrested on Friday morning. The 26-year-old teacher, Michelle Anthony, has been sent to judicial custody till January 18 by the Girgaum court.
The teacher allegedly beat up the child for writing ‘31’ instead of 13. The girl had welts on her calves when she returned home from school on Tuesday. Reports of a medical check-up done at the state-run JJ hospital confirmed that the girl had been assaulted with a blunt object.
The teacher has been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and of the Juvenile Justice act.
By Friday evening, the child’s parents also filed a non-cognisable complaint against school headmistress Anette Lobo and principal. “When we went to the school, Lobo tried to suppress the matter and threatened to ignore my daughter if we went to the police,” said the girl’s father. The child’s parents refuted the headmistress’s claim that the child was jumping about in the classroom the day after her parents claimed she was beaten up. They claimed that they had sent her to school the next day to ensure she does not miss out on her studies.
Meanwhile, the state panel for protection of children’s rights had taken note of the case on the basis of media reports.
Corporal punishment is punishable and is also banned by the Supreme Court. Secretary of Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, AN Tripathi, said that the two parties would be summoned for a hearing... Teachers cannot indulge in such behaviour,” said Tripathi.
Sub-inspector Nitin Mahadik of Gamdevi police station, where a case has been registered, said that the police have recovered the 12-inch wooden ruler used by the teacher to hit the girl.
“We will file a charge sheet soon,” said Mahadik.
Few register such cases
The number of parents coming out to report such incidents is small. In 2013, the child rights body had taken up eight complaints of corporal punishment. Between 2009 and 2012, 14 cases had been registered.
Swati Vats, president, Podar Education Network, said: “Parents do not report such incidents due to fear that the child may be targeted at school. Another reason is that parents themselves hit their children at times. So the root of the problem is to change parenting values.”