Students clean toilets in Bengaluru gov’t school, headmistress suspended-

In an incident that has caused an uproar, Class VI students of Andrahalli Government School in Bengaluru North were allegedly forced to clean toilets and scrub the walls of the toilets. The headmistress of the school has been suspended after the videos went viral on social media and the authorities concerned were alerted about the incident. This comes days after students in the Kolar district were forced to clean a septic tank on the school premises, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

Parents and Kannada activists in the area were outraged and were seen protesting outside the school on Friday morning demanding immediate action. They claimed that the situation had persisted for over three months with no response from the school or the Block Education Officer (BEO). The video shows students holding acid bottles and cleaning the toilets with broomsticks.

A total of 600 students are studying in the school and parents alleged that students are forced to clean the washrooms before classes commence. Other questionable activities such as washing plates used by the school teachers also were mentioned by the protesting parents.

However, when The New Indian Express spoke to BEO KG Anjanappa, he said he hadn’t received any complaints from the parents so far. “The video which is circulating says that the bottles contain acid. However, preliminary inspection showed that it was phenyl. Strict action will be initiated against the teachers and headmistress,” he said. He added that once the authorities received the video, following DDPI’s instruction the Headmistress, Lakshmi Devamma, was suspended and a probe was ordered.

“I visited the school only last week and found no such activity. After inspection, I asked the headmistress to keep the washrooms clean. Maybe post that she must have directed the students,” BEO Anjanappa claimed. Meanwhile, the teachers have also denied the charges.

DKS promises strict action
Reacting to the incident, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said that he had called a meeting to inquire about the incident and assured strict action in the matter. “I will inquire about it and get the actual report. There was another similar incident in the past and we have taken legal action against it,” he told reporters.

“Children should be raised properly and made strong. There are already arrangements made to get toilets cleaned, children should not be misused,” Shivakumar said.

He added that earlier NSS and Seva Dal camps used to give training for children to clean gardens and plant saplings but we haven’t given anyone permission to rope in children to clean the toilets, he added.

Karnataka Primary Education and Literacy Minister Madhu Bangarappa condemned the incident and termed it shocking and deplorable. “There should be no doubt about the fact that we will take the strictest action as per law. I will ensure that such incidents don’t repeat in the future. The department will take all necessary steps,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly R Ashoka also visited the school and condemned the incident.

Earlier this month, the principal and two staff members of a school in Kolar district were suspended over allegations that some students were made to clean the septic tank in the school.

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