FIR filed against headmistress in Karnataka for forcing students to clean school toilets

The Karnataka government had earlier issued a circular warning the school administrators of criminal action if students were engaged to clean toilets.
A representational image of an FIR
A representational image of an FIR
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Johar Jabeena, the headmistress of Moulana Azad Model English School, Kalaburagi has been reportedly booked by the police for forcing the students to clean the school’s toilets. According to reports, the FIR was filed on January 15, following a complaint by the students’ parents. Moulana Azad Model English School is a government-initiated school established across Karnataka under the Directorate of Minorities.

Md Zameer, the parent of a Class 8 student enrolled at Maulana Azad Model English Medium High School filed the complaint at the Roza police station on January 13. Zameer's complaint accused the school's principal, Johra Jubeen, of forcing the students to clean the school’s toilet and the garden at her residence. Zameer also said that his son and fellow students had spoken to him about the issue over the past several months. Allegedly, Jubeen had assigned some students the task of cleaning the school toilets, while others were directed to clean the garden at her residence.

In December 2023, the Karnataka government issued a circular, banning the use of students to clean school toilets. The circular, issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy, said that multiple instances of children being tasked with cleaning toilets had come to its attention. “All the government primary and high schools in the state are prohibited from using students for cleaning and maintenance of toilets,” the circular stated.

Calling the action of children cleaning toilets “objectionable and condemnable,” the circular stated, “School students should participate in academic, extracurricular and sports activities. It is the responsibility of officials, principal, teachers and school staff to keep students away from cleaning and maintenance of toilets.” The Department instructed schools to utilise the maintenance grants allocated to them and take the help of the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) to leverage local resources for maintaining cleanliness in toilets and ensuring hygiene on school premises.

Furthermore, the Department said that if officials and school staff were found to have violated the law, criminal action would be initiated against them.The circular was issued following three separate instances of students being forced to clean school toilets emerged from the state in December last year.

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