A third-grade female student of an Indian curriculum school in Dubai was groped by the gardener during a school event, parents have alleged. The incident, which took place on Friday, has left parents of students at the school in shock.
According to eyewitnesses and a complaint that was sent to the school principal, the gardener was allegedly caught red-handed as he groped the child.
The school took “immediate” action after receiving complaints from parents by terminating his services and the man will be “deported within the next 24 hours,” the school said on Sunday. It was, however, not clear if the school has lodged a police complaint.
A complaint letter written by another parent said the gardener was allegedly caught “red handed inappropriately touching” a grade three girl during extra curricular activities on Friday. Since Sunday, the letter was circulating among parents on WhatsApp.
School takes action
Meanwhile, after being notified about the gardener’s action, the school took “immediate” action against him and notified the parents in a circular sent on Sunday.
“Please be assured that the safety, security and well-being of our children is of paramount importance to the school and our staff is ever vigilant to ensure the same,” the circular added.
Parents raise concerns
A shocked parent community in Dubai called for stricter child safety rules following the incident. Over 35 parents met senior authorities of the school on Monday.
Even though the school authorities assured parents that ‘strict action’ had been taken against the gardener, several parents, on Sunday, demanded that he must be handed over to the police.
The parents have made the following suggestions to the school management :
- Hire only female nannies for small children
- No male staff must be allowed to interact with them
- Install CCTV cameras inside and outside school
- More nannies must be deployed outside classrooms
- Hire social workers and counsellors to give lectures and lessons on ‘safe touch areas’ for girl students
- Arrangements must be made for parents to be seated inside the school premises during weekend sports activities and extra classes.
- School must hire a social worker and a trained counsellor to deal with trauma cases as well
Some parents expressed shock at the incident, especially since the school in question has extremely high security protocols.
Outside of the parent community, the general public has also called for tighter security measures in schools.
According to data collected from a poll on the Khaleej Times website, over 93 per cent of the respondents of the poll are calling for stricter child safety rules in schools.