Madurai school asks teachers to wear overcoats to protect them from 'lewd comments' by students

The parents as well as the students feel good about it, says the Headmaster
Madurai school asks teachers to wear overcoats to protect them from 'lewd comments' by students
Madurai school asks teachers to wear overcoats to protect them from 'lewd comments' by students
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Authorities at a government school in Madurai seem to think that overcoats will act as a shield against “lewd comments” made by male students.

The New Indian Express has reported that a government high school at Vannivelampatti in Madurai district has asked its teachers to wear overcoats during class hours in order to protect them from lewd comments.

Ulisampatti educational district officer Renuka Devi distributed overcoats to eight teachers at an event. The move has come in for criticism from education activists.

Asked if he had spoken to the male students about lewd comments being passed, Headmaster S Bhaskaran denied it. He told The News Minute that the move had just been implemented, and if inappropriate comments continued despite this, it would be withdrawn.

“When teachers wear overcoats to classes, the students respect them for it and think that it is good. When doctors and lawyers wear overcoats, they are respected for it. We thought teachers will also feel free in the classroom and their mind won’t get diverted with anything else,” he said.

Bhaskaran said that the teachers had initially “felt bad” but they were now happy about it. “Parents as well as students feel good about it. Now, teachers feel free to move around in the class and work so they are happy about it,” he claimed.

History of overcoats

Earlier this year, several teachers’ associations had suggested to an informal committee formed by the State School Education Department that an overcoat be made mandatory for teachers. It received a negative response from many teachers then.

Following instances of school students being involved with teachers, several teachers’ unions and organizations like the Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Post Graduate Teachers Association had come up with the suggestion that teachers should be given a dress code to follow. But not everyone agreed with the move then.

Education activist Prince Gajendra Babu said that the current direction was based on a circular passed by the government a few years ago which stated that inappropriate dresses disturb the students.

“It is not helpful for a good educational atmosphere. The headmasters said that they are proud about such a move, then why don’t they themselves wear an overcoat? Classroom is a place where you are teaching about being equals in the society, in that place only women teachers are told to wear overcoats, it shows the failure of the education system in Tamil Nadu.”

If at all such a dress code was imposed, he said it should be made mandatory for both female and male teachers.

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