Monday May 23, 2022

Private school reprimanded for failing to take action against harassment of girl student

May 14, 2022

The Directorate of Inspection and Registration of Private Institutions (Dirpis) Sindh on Friday issued a warning letter to a private school in North Karachi after a video went viral on social media in which the mother of a 14-year-old girl demanded action against a van driver who allegedly harassed her daughter.

In the video, the woman alleged that after her daughter was harassed by the driver, she visited the school several times and discussed the matter with the administration but they did not take the issue seriously. “Now I will post the video to highlight the problem on social media.”

Later in the video, the parents of other students joined her, saying that their children could also suffer similar harassment, which was why they had come to show their support for the aggrieved woman.

As the video was circulated on social media, Dirpis sent Deputy Director Gulab Rai and Assistant Director Mumtaz Hussain to visit the Akber School and investigate the issue. The two-member team was directed to submit the findings of their investigation on the same day.

The investigators found that a 55-year-old man, who had been working as a van driver to transport students to and from the school for 10 years, had touched the girl inappropriately. However, the school administration said they had no connection with him as he worked privately and was hired by parents, not by the school.

They found that after the incident, the driver paid Rs100 to the girl and told her to not inform her parents about it, but she disclosed what had occurred. Meanwhile, the driver denies that he deliberately harassed the girl, saying that he had mistakenly touched her.

After the investigation, Dirpis issued a warning letter to the school, which read, “The committee in its finding stated you [the school administration] failed to resolve the issue regarding physical harassment of the said student by one of the van driver namely Farooq. [The incident] caused a lot of pain and embarrassment for the parents as well as for the directorate.” The directorate warned the school administration to be more vigilant and take appropriate measures so that such incidents may not take place in the future. After the visit of the Dirpis officials, the school principal took action and banned the driver for lifetime from providing transportation to the students of the school.