At a time when schoolteachers are supposed to be shaping the leaders of tomorrow, a bizarre incident from Chinna Salem in Tamil Nadu's Villupuram district involved a 43-year-old teacher proposing his love to a Class 8 student. The incident happened on Valentine's Day (February 14) when the teacher, M Nirmal Premkumar, presented the student with a rose in front of her classmates. He has been arrested on charges of sexual harassment.
Premkumar's colleague, S Lawrence, a physical education teacher, was also arrested for trying to convince the girl to consider his decision by accepting his proposal. Both the men are also reportedly married and have children, the Times of India reported.
The incident happened at the time of a class when Premkumar presented a rose to the girl in front of her classmates. The girl declined his proposal, however, Premkumar forced the girl to hold the rose. Following this, she decided to avoid the teacher for the rest of the day.
Premkumar had asked the help of his colleague to help him out with his proposal. He had even asked Lawrence to not tell about this to anyone else. Lawrence later called the girl and asked her to change her mind to accept his proposal and also threatened her by saying that if she didn't accept, it would affect her studies as well.
The girl did not pay any heed to the physical education teacher and decided to stay mum about the incident. However, her parents later came to know about the incident when they noticed her crying.
The infuriated parents and relatives of the girl staged a protest outside the school to arrest the two teachers in connection with the incident.
"The education department on Monday ordered a probe into the incident and placed secondary grade teacher (Premkumar) and physical education teacher (Lawrence) under suspension pending inquiries," a district level education official was quoted as saying by TOI.
The girl's parents later filed a complaint with the Kallakuruchi all-woman police who later charged Premkumar under section 11 (sexual harassment) and section 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. On the other hand, Lawrence was charged under section 17 (punishment of abetment) of POCSO Act, TOI reported.