Friday, March 03, 2017

Udupi Catholic school denies discrimination charge

The governing board of Mount Rosary School on Feb 22 clarified that there was no harassment or discrimination meted out to the physical education teacher of the school, Nagaraj, who is said to have attempted suicide.

According to Malpe police, Nagaraj’s sister Prabhavati had lodged a complaint that her brother on February 9 attempted suicide due to harassment by the headmistress and two others of the school management.

Addressing presspersons, Fr. Dennis D’Sa, Public Relations Officer of Udupi Catholic Diocese, said that the school established in 1997 had 1,485 students and 61 teaching and non-teaching staff.

Of these 61 teaching and non-teaching staff, only 20 were Christians, while the remaining 41 belonged to other religions. The school had a harmonious relationship between teachers, parents and governing board.

Mr. Nagaraj had been working in the school for 14 years. Initially, he worked well. But slowly he became indifferent, showed indiscipline and was discourteous to his colleagues.

He was counselled periodically, but to no avail. Tired of his behaviour, the school governing board warned him orally several times.

When Sr. Regina, a disciplinarian and able administrator, took charge as headmistress of the school in June 2016, Mr. Nagaraj continued with his same old habits.

When he realised that Sr. Regina would not tolerate his behaviour, he started making baseless allegations against her. He had threatened to commit suicide at a meeting with the headmistress on August 29, 2016.

On February 9, when Mr. Nagaraj was called for a meeting in the presence of Fr Lawrence D’Souza, Secretary of Catholic Education Society, and Philip Neri Aranha, school correspondent, he accepted a couple of lapses on his part and apologised.

But soon he became angry, started banging the desk, and walked out of the meeting and later allegedly attempted suicide, which was a well-calculated act. He later made baseless allegations against Sr. Regina, Fr. D’Souza and Mr. Aranha.

At a meeting held on February 18, the school governing board and the teaching and non-teaching staff had unanimously backed Sister Regina. “Our school has always strived for the welfare of weaker sections,” Fr. D’Sa said.

Ravi Acharya, president of Parent Teachers Association, Valerian Mendonca, diocese chancellor, Vanitha, Assistant school headmistress, Savita, teacher, and others, were present.

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