Schools in Coimbatore district directed to form complaints committees

District Collector G.S. Sameeran has directed all government, aided and private schools in the district to form internal complaints committees (ICCs) in the wake of the death of a 17-year-old girl, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a teacher in a private school.

As per the guidelines released by the district administration, the ICCs in schools must comprise teachers, members of Parents Teachers Association and a student representative from the respective school, along with a social worker and an officer from the nearest All Women Police Station.

Apart from this, all schools must install a ‘complaint box’ for the students to report sexual harassment complaints, the guidelines said. These boxes must have two keys – one for a senior woman teacher from the school and the second key must be surrendered to either the District Social Welfare Officer or the secretary of the District Legal Services Authority.

All headmasters must, henceforth, report the action taken on the complaints received via Childline helpline 1098 to the respective district educational officers and the Chief Educational Officer. The schools must ensure that interactions between parents and class teachers are held periodically to create awareness on sexual offences against students. In addition, sessions to explain ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ to students and classes by psychologists must be held regularly in schools, according to the guidelines.

Schools must display the contact numbers and addresses of the Chief Educational Officer and district educational officers and the Inspector of the nearby All Women Police Station on the school premises. Along with these, the following helplines must also be displayed: Childline – 1098, helpline of Department of School Education – 14417, and Women Helpline – 181.

Coimbatore Chief Educational Officer N. Geetha said on Thursday that these will be implemented in over 2,000 primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools in the district. The compliance to these guidelines, particularly in private schools, will be checked through surprise inspections from next week and schools that have not adhered to these guidelines will be issued show-cause notice, she added.

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