Buzdar seeks report over school harassment issue

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LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar on Wednesday sought a report regarding the harassment of students in a private school in the provincial capital.
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.
“Action against the accused should be taken in accordance with the law,” said the chief minister. He added that the affected students will be provided justice at any cost.
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.
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.
On the other hand, the police said that they have not received any request from the school administration to take action against the four accused in the case.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari has also taken notice of the incident and said that Ministry of Human Rights (MOHR) helpline 1099 is available for such complaints and for help of the victims.
In pursuance of the complaint lodged against the incident, the District Education Authority has also formed a three-member committee comprising educationists and government officers to probe the incident.
The authority has directed the committee to submit the findings along with “clear cut recommendations” within three days to decide the future course of action regarding the reported incident. – TLTP