Parent allege sexual abuse at school for mentally-challenged

  • Neha Arora, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: May 09, 2014 23:17 IST

The parents of mentally-challenged students at Prayas School, run by the District Red Cross society, on Friday alleged that their wards were not secure as school vice-principal Pitamber Verma beat up and misbehaved with them, besides sexually abusing girls.

The school presently has 67 children of which 25 are above 15 years of age.

The Red Cross Society has asked the parents to take those children above 15 years of age as per the Indian Red Cross guidelines. The guidelines prescribe vocational training for special children who are less than 15 years of age.

The parents claimed that no vocational training was being offered by the District Red Cross Society anywhere in the district.

The Red Cross society in a proposal is planning to send overage students to their homes.

Bal Gopal Mandbudhi Vidyarthi Abhibhawak Association, the parents association, demanded that children should be kept at the school since they would not be able to adjust in the outside world, adding that the authorities should remove the vice-principal at the earliest.

Meenakshi Bharti, a parent whose 23-year-old daughter is studying at Prayas School for 13 years, said, "These children need behavioural therapy on daily basis. Moreover, they are not able to adjust in such environment due to their aggressive nature. They need special care and environment so that they do not find themselves in an unfamiliar situation."

Ashish Kumar, whose brother Nitin (35) studies at the school, said, "There is no vocational course provided to these students. Earlier, when in-charge Surveen Aggarwal was here she used to provide classes on making bags, candles and other items. But no such activities are conducted on the premises anymore."

"Moreover, the government has not established any professional institutes where parents could send their children after they attain certain age limit," he added.

An NRI parent is learnt to have approached the society against its decision to send his 18-year-old ward home. The parents want the government to provide these children vocational training so that they could utilise their skills and energy in a positive manner.

They said the vice-principal should be removed and former in-charge Surveen Aggarwal should be appointed again.

Dinesh (34), a student, said that the vice-principal beat him up with a stick. "Verma sir lashed legs with a stick badly and also hit my stomach," he said.

The parents also submitted a written complaint to the police commissioner and deputy commissioner in this connection.

Deputy commissioner Varun Rojam, also president of the District Red Cross Society, said, "An inquiry was made by the secretary of the Red Cross Society in which it was found that there was no such issue related to sexual abuse. We will look for a solution as parents are also not willing to take their wards home. As per the rules, the overage children have to be taken homes."

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