Teachers associations have slammed the move saying that asking for their names is akin to blacklisting them and that they alone are not responsible for the suicides.

Circular asks for names of teachers responsible for student suicides in TN educators livid
news Education Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 19:09

Four days after P Ayyannan, the Chief Education Officer (CEO) of Karur, issued a circular to government schools in the district asking for details of student suicides due to harassment by teaching staff, teacher associations across the state have expressed shock and anger.

Teachers have alleged that not only is this move tactless, for it doesn’t handle the matter sensitively, but also is likely to tarnish the image of educators permanently.

The circular, which Ayyannan says came from the Joint Director of School Education, asks the heads of schools to give details of students who committed suicide due to “sexual harassment, disturbance, irritating behaviour or inconvenience caused by teachers”. A form with the directive asks for information on the student, the exact reason for the suicide, details of the teacher allegedly responsible for it and the status of the police case in the matter.

This directive comes at a time when Tamil Nadu is seeing a shocking rise in the number of student suicides. Recently, four female students committed suicide in Vellore after allegedly being pulled up by their teacher for misbehaviour.

Talking to TNM, Ayyannan dismissed his role in the matter by claiming, "I merely forwarded the directive from the School Education Department."

However, Teachers' Associations are livid and allege that this entire procedure would be traumatic for teachers.

"Student suicides are on the rise and this is a very sensitive issue," says PK Illamaran, state President of the Tamil Nadu Teachers Association. "It cannot be handled in such a manner. The CEO should meet the teachers and principals to discuss the problem at hand. To name a teacher in a form like this would be akin to blacklisting them.”

He further claims that the blame for student suicides cannot merely be pinned on teachers.

"It is much harder to discipline students now than it was 10 years ago. Students have become very difficult to handle and any kind of advice or admonishment affects them negatively. What more, with both parents working these days, they don't get enough emotional support at home, leading to drastic decisions. Teachers alone cannot be blamed in such a matter," he adds.

The association now plans to meet the Joint Director to take up the matter with him. "If their intention is to reduce student suicides, this is not the way to go about it," Illamaran says.

When TNM asked Ayyannan about how they plan to tackle the menace, he says, "We will counsel students and review teachers based on their performance and attitude."


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