A 4-year-old in Delhi was allegedly sexually assaulted this week by her classmate. This is her mother’s account of what happened, as emailed to NDTV.
Names of teachers have been redacted to protect the child’s identity. No other edits have been made.
I am shocked to share that my child, a student of ██████████ was sexually assaulted by one of her classmates while the teacher was out of the class, leaving the attendant (Ayah) to look after the children on Friday. The incident happened during school hours in the school premises because of negligence on the part of the assigned teacher, █████.
According to my daughter, the boy went on to open her pants, touch her bloomers and put his finger inside. It happened at once or twice, it seems, because she told me it happened in the washroom and then in the classroom. She adds that the boy had just finished eating his food, he had not washed his hands and then touched her private parts. In the washroom, there was no Didi who could help her; in the classroom, her class teacher ███████ was not around, and here, child says he sharpened his pencil and put it in too.
She came home writhing in pain in her private part and somehow bore it, informing me casually that her tummy is hurting. As a child of four years (and) eight months, she was in pain and complained twice on Friday, but could not figure out if it was her private part that was hurting or her tummy. It got worsened on Saturday, and she complained it to me in between, and holding her bloomers somehow, and telling me it is hurting. At night, just before going off to sleep, she started crying profusely. She narrated an incident that left me aghast. She told me what another boy in her class had done to her. She cried a lot and went on the look for an ointment that I usually apply when they are hurt, Arnica. When I opened her bloomers and saw the injury, I was shocked.
The signs of assault were visible as her private part was red and swollen, and when I applied ointment to it, she started crying all the more in pain. I informed my husband, and my daughter went on to narrate the incident to him too.
It was traumatic for my husband and me. I sent a message to her class teacher, █████████, and in between waiting for the day to break. My daughter had a sleepless night as she was constantly saying that the boy had hurt her and she was in pain, especially while going to the washroom.
Next morning, I spoke to the class teacher; she was not present in the school that day. She asked me to speak to school co-ordinator and Principal, and send a written complaint to the mail ID mentioned in the almanac immediately.
I called up school coordinator, █████████, and she told me that she would try and speak to the teacher concerned as well as Principal. Meanwhile, the call to Principal went unanswered. I spoke to my daughter’s paediatrician and fearing the worst, she asked me to rush to a hospital to get my child examined. I quickly went to Rockland Hospital, and the doctor on duty after medical examination confirmed that it is a case of sexual assault. The hospital filed a medico-legal case.
I received a call from a worried ████ asking about my child and when I told her about the details, she was almost in tears. She informed ██████, and I got a call from Principal ██████ at 1.21 pm. ███ ███ appeared casual about the entire incident as if I was reporting a loss of my child’s belonging or talking of any physical injury. She asked me to speak to the counsellor and assured that the school authorities would meet on Monday morning to resolve the issue as it being Sunday, the school can’t be opened. On hearing this, I asked if the same incident had happened to her daughter ████ would she have waited until next morning. She paused and then agreed to meet at 3.30 pm but they (█████ and ████) kept on asking me to meet counsellor in spite of me telling them that my daughter is being medically examined, her vaginal swab is being collected and then I have to go to the police station to file an FIR that is need of the hour as policemen had been informed by the hospital authorities by then.
I moved to the police station and filed an FIR (0528/2017) at Dwarka Sector 9 Police Station. In between the school sends me a message and a mail asking me to meet the school counsellor next morning at 9 am. The co-ordinator even went to say that she spent the entire evening resolving my issue. I asked her what is my issue here; it is case of sexual assault in the school premises, in school hours, due to school’s negligence. Does she have an idea how it could happen? She said we have accorded it the utmost priority. The Principal was so insensitive that she didn’t even bother to ask how is my child, or if she could come and meet her, and talk to her. The school authorities are claiming that they had to open school on a Sunday and were waiting for me to arrive to watch the CCTV footage. But how could I leave the medical examination and police formalities to rush to meet them? What I needed was an answer as to why and how it happened to which they just said we have accorded utmost priority to it. And me meeting the counsellor was their option offered over call, messages and email.
Next morning, I went to school, and my daughter showed the scene of crime, pointed that there was no teacher around in the classroom and took the policemen to how it happened.
She went on to narrate the same before the Metropolitan Magistrate, without changing her words or sequence of events. It showed how much the incident has affected her psyche or rather is seeped in her mind.
The entire incident points to an alarming situation at the school’s level – teachers not being attentive to see what is happening in the classroom; Didis not being present around and a lot of loose ends which is scary for a mother to even imagine. If a school becomes a haven of such adventurous children who at a tender age of 4-5 are out to experiment with their sexual desires, then it is nothing but a disaster in the making.
I saw the CCTV footage of the day as it unfolded on Friday and can easily say that if something like could happen to my child in the classroom/washroom in the presence of teachers and attendants, then I am completely shattered at how the school could let down my daughter and my trust. The footage only corroborates what my daughter said: “I took long to hook her pants and by then all the kids had left”; and she was the last one to step out on both occasions when the children are coming out of the classroom. The teacher’s negligence is also very clearly visible. I paid a bomb as school fee, handed then my child hoping that she is safe in school, what is considered a second home, in the custody of her second mother, teacher, only to be let down.
The school manager called me up on Tuesday afternoon to tell that the management wants to meet me. I asked her for what? I told her I don’t want to meet or see anyone of them till my daughter heals, and I recover from this trauma. I am told that the school has co-operated with me. I asked her how? By taking fees and making my child go through this pain that will scar her for a lifetime.
The management calls me on Tuesday evening me to say that they are under the impression that I want to meet them. I negated the claim right away because that is not going to help me in any way. He says that the management appreciates my concerns and they want to know how they can assuage me. I asked him if he could 1) Remove the Principal, co-ordinator and teacher, 2) Rusticate that child, 3) Offer an unconditional apology on their FB page 4) Refund my two years’ fees with interest and return her stationery, 5) Issue a Transfer Certificate to my daughter as I fear for her well-being and life after this horrendous incident. To this, he backtracked and told that they have a committee and it will look into these issues.
The school insisted on Monday that I can send to school, and they have changed that guy’s section. But a boy of 5 who could be so perverted, can’t be trusted in any way whatsoever. Neither can the school be trusted to take care of my child because they failed her and me in protecting her rights and protecting her childhood.
The police is apparently going after the classmate, but the school is allowed to go scot free. How could it happen in the first place? The CCTV footage clearly points out that 1) her teacher left the class on the Ayah, 2) my daughter was the last one to walk out of the class both occasions as she had mentioned in her statement to the police and also before the Metropolitan Magistrate because she could not put the hook of her pants that the boy had opened, 3) and the school is not being booked for any negligence by the police. If that boy has been booked under POCSO, why can’t the so-called upmarket school be booked for criminal negligence. The police is all out to defend the school knowing well the boy is juvenile; the school’s criminality needs to established. The school should be booked for scarring my innocent child for no fault of hers and letting something like this to happen in the classroom. It is getting away with easily.
When I brought it to notice of the school, why didn’t the authorities call the police or hospital? They didn’t try to meet the child or me when my child was being medically examined at a hospital and from there taken to a police station to file an FIR. How convenient is it for the school to pass the buck of this gross negligence to the boy and his upbringing and giving its Principal, teachers, school co-ordinator, management a clean chit. The school needs to be booked under POSCO act for negligence in letting something like this happen it is classroom, due its teacher’s irresponsible behaviour.
I would request your kind self to intervene in this matter and take stringent action against the school, and in between see that the probe is free and fair and lastly, but most importantly, my daughter doesn’t miss out on her studies, for which I wish to get her into a good school ASAP so that she becomes normal.
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