Lalitpur school says it has suspended—not removed—the teacher who sexually abused girls for decadesAround a hundred people gathered outside the Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidyalaya to demand action a day after the Post investigation detailing molestation of young girls by the Math teacher
Bodha Raj Tripathee, the Maths teacher at Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidyalaya who sexually abused young girls for decades, has only been suspended by the school administration, even though Vice Principal Geeta Sitaula told hundreds gathered outside the school premises that he had been fired effective immediately.
Addressing a nearly hundred-strong group of parents and former students, Sitaula had said that Tripathee had been suspended following the Post reporters request for comment regarding allegations of sexual abuse against him by a number of former students. On Sunday, Situala first said that the school had fired Tripathi after the Post’s investigation detailing years of molestation was published on Saturday.
However, hours later, the Post obtained a document signed between the students and the school representatives that shows Tripathee had only been suspended and has been given a week to furnish clarification in compliance with labour union laws.
When asked why Sitaula told parents and students that Tripathee had been fired, she said she was confused and refused to answer the question.
Student representatives told the Post they had also reached a collective decision to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Tripathee at the Metropolitan Police Range, Jawalakhel by the students, parents and school administration. But the police on Sunday afternoon refused to file the FIR against Tripathee, citing statute of limitations regarding past abuse cases. The statute of limitations for childhood abuse, according to Article 74 (2) of the Act Relating to Children, is a year after a person turns 18.
A group of parents confronted Sitaula Sunday morning at the premises of Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Lagankhel, demanding action against Tripathee. While Sitaula and others in the school administration met privately with representatives of former students and parents, the crowd outside discussed the culture of silence that allowed Tripathee to operate.
“This is supposed to be a temple of learning,” said Lokesh Thapa, whose children study in sixth and tenth grades at the school. “Now that the truth has been made public, strict action needs to be taken.”
Thapa said that he had asked his tenth-grade son about Tripathee following the Post’s report on Saturday. Everyone in the school knew about Tripathee’s behaviour towards girls, Thapa said his son told him. Thapa was at the school to ensure that Tripathee was fired and that those responsible for covering up his action were going to be held accountable.
After a nearly hour-and-a-half-long meeting, the students, parents, and school administration emerged with a plan of action to move forward. Sabrina Basnet, representing the former students, said that the school had accepted that the administration “was on the wrong side”. However, the students wanted a change in management, including resignations from the principal and vice-principal, said Basnet.
“We want to move forward progressively,” said Sitaula, who has been running the school in the absence of its principal for several months. She assured that the school would be instituting classes on what constitutes sexual harassment for the students as well as training for the teachers. Situala said the school will also ask all of its students if they have experienced any kind of inappropriate behaviour and will hire a counselor to speak to students.
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