Headmaster directs schoolgirls to work in agriculture fields in Ranchi’s Vijaygiri
The CO confirmed that the schoolgirls were tending to crops after receiving directions from the headmaster. He said not only was it violation of the sanctity of teacher-student relationship, but also an offence under law for employing child workers.
More than a dozen school girls of Saint Ignatius High School at Vijaygiri in Tamar block, around 80km from the state capital, were allegedly directed to tend to crops in the headmaster’s agricultural fields on Monday evening.
“I saw the girls harvesting crops. As they all appeared to be minor schoolgirls, I stopped my vehicle and enquired the reason. They all said that the field belonged to headmaster Father John. They were asked to cut the crops after school hours by the headmaster,” said Tamar MLA Vikas Kumar Munda, who was passing by the Vijaygiri area on Monday evening.
Munda said he immediately informed the district authorities, including circle officer Rajesh Kumar. The CO confirmed that the schoolgirls were tending to crops after receiving directions from the headmaster. He said not only was it violation of the sanctity of teacher-student relationship, but also an offence under law for employing child workers.
Circle officer Rajesh Kumar said that around 15 school girls were working in the field. “The girls told that the headmaster asked them to cut the crops after school hours. They revealed that the headmaster often employed the schoolchildren in agricultural and daily wage works.”
“The headmaster was reprimanded and let-off after a warning. The authorities would ensure strict action if they receive any such complaint in future,” Kumar said.
However, the headmaster denied having directed the girls to work in the field. “One had to understand that it is an impoverished village, where schoolchildren often had to work after school hours to support their families. Many school children worked in various agricultural fields for which they were provided food or money, he said.
But, in this case the schoolgirls had volunteered to cut the crops, he said. “Despite my refusal, they engaged in the work. I never asked any school children to cater to my personal needs. The issue has been blown out of proportion,” he said.