A teacher of a Chennai Corporation-run school attempted suicide by consuming acid on Thursday, after he was pulled up by a visiting education officer in front of fellow teachers.

The officer had questioned four science teachers on the status of students' practical-record books, but they replied that since the school was observing its annual day on Thursday, they would submit him the status the day after. At this, the officer had threatened to issue them memos.

“He called me from the school and he was in tears. He is a sincere and hard working teacher. Later, I came to know that he drank acid and was in the hospital,” said Sangeetha, wife of P. Jagatheeswaran (41), a teacher at Chennai Girls Higher Secondary School in Korukkupet.

The school was celebrating its annual day on Thursday and K. Ravichandran, the education officer, was one of the guests. He summoned four science teachers, including Mr. Jagatheeswaran, and questioned them about the practical-record books.

“He shouted at us for not having signed the books on time and threatened to give us memos,” said V. B. Bhuvaneswari, one of the teachers to be summoned to the headmaster's room.

Following this, Mr. Jagatheeswaran went to the science lab and called his wife before taking the extreme step. “As he was about to fall unconscious, he told one of the teachers that he had consumed acid. We immediately rushed him to the hospital,” said his colleague. Mr. Jagatheeswaran is said to have drunk diluted hydrochloric acid. He has two children, aged 10 and two-and-half.

Mr. Jagatheeswaran is in the ICU.

Commenting on the incident, Mr. Ravichandran said, “With the practical exams approaching, I had asked the teachers to put in writing when they would finish the work and submit the records.”

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