Teacher faces resentment over her support for Kiss of Love protest


A schoolteacher and women’s rights activist has found herself at the receiving end of resentment of school authorities, parents, and students allegedly for her intervention against attempts to cover up a complaint of sexual harassment of a student against a teacher and for her participation in the Kiss of Love protest in Kochi against “moral brigades”.

M. Sulfath, primary school teacher at Cheruthazham Government Higher Secondary School here, says that her participation in the Kiss of Love protest is used by her colleagues and a section of parents to malign her in front of students.

The attempt to isolate her is a continuation of their displeasure over her support to the parents of a 14-year old Dalit girl against the alleged attempts of the school authorities to shield the male teacher from legal action on the complaint, she adds.

She has been on long leave as she faced the hostilities of the school authorities after the police nabbed the teacher and registered cases against the school headmaster on the parents’ complaints, she said.

“When I went to the school to receive my salary on November 6, I found myself surrounded by students shouting go back,” she said, adding that there were also posters suggesting that her participation in the Kochi protest was an affront to womanhood.


The issue of alleged sexual harassment by the schoolteacher, who is an office-bearer of a pro-Left teachers’ union, was made public when he was arrested on the parents’ complaint to the police and the Child Helpline workers following Ms. Sulfath’s intervention. Initially, the school authorities worked for getting him transferred to another school, instead of reporting the complaint to the police under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act on August 17, when they got the complaint. The teacher was placed under suspension three weeks later.

“Those who first brought to me the complaint of sexual harassment clearly said that they did not want any police case and wanted him transferred,” said headmaster M. Mohanan. Hence, he sent the complaint to the Deputy Director of Education for necessary action. Students, teachers and parents were now annoyed by her participation in the Kiss of Love protest. Ms. Sulfath is planning to approach the Education Minister as she fears fresh attempt to mobilise students and parents against her when she resumes duty.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 2:16:38 PM |

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