Indian Catholic News

Calcutta archdiocese tells school to follow Pocso Act

The diocesan team has found several loopholes in the way the school has been conducting its affairs.

 
Kolkata: 

The archdiocese of Kolkata has completed the primary investigation into the molestation of a Class II girl by her dance teacher in a Catholic school in south Kolkata.

The diocesan team has found several loopholes in the way the school has been conducting its affairs and has advised it to mend its ways.

The school has not been following the Pocso Act and does not have a committee to ensure that children’s rights are not violated. This is apparently the case in many schools where the administrations are not abreast of the act’s details and how they need to be woven into the system.

The school in question has been asked to start following the Pocso Act in toto by March 31 and put in place all necessary Pocso recommendations.

The investigating team has also found that the CCTV coverage of the school is not satisfactory. There were several cameras that needed repair. “We have told the school to repair all the cameras. They are now all up and running,” said Father Joy Cyprian, inspector of Catholic schools.

In the meantime, the other male dance teacher that the school had, has already resigned and left the school, even before the authorities could ask for it. The school has decided to do away with all male teachers. The decision was apparently taken in January.

The teacher who has been arrested for the alleged molestation was also slated to go by March since a female teacher has already been recruited. She will join on March 1.

“We will follow up on this primary investigation and will ensure that all schools follow the law in toto. There should not be any slip there,” said Father Dominic Gomes, vicar general of the archdiocese.

The church investigations were necessitated after the parents’ unrest.

Pocso Act, 2012, sources said, isn’t only a penal offence but is also a rehabilitative law that lays down roles for all stakeholders, including the schools.

It envisages the school setting up a committee with teachers and consellors to help the student overcome the trauma and shock. On the same hand, it mandates them to immediately inform such acts to police or face punishment.

Source: Times of India

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