Education ministry condemns sexual assault incident at private school

The education ministry has condemned the recent incident where the vice principal of a private school allegedly molested nine students through ‘inappropriate touching’ and attempted to rape another girl student, calling it a serious betrayal of ethical and moral conduct expected of a school authority and teachers.

“We strongly condemn the heinous and unacceptable conduct of a member of the teaching fraternity causing serious distress to the students and their families,” said education minister Norbu Wangchuk. “Our heart goes out to the affected students and their families. The Ministry offers its deepest sympathies to all the families of the affected children and extends its full support to redress the trauma that these young girls are going through.”

The Ministry, meanwhile, has also arranged counseling sessions for all the students and others affected by the incident. “We hope that they will make their journey of recovery positively and fast,” said Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk.

The students are already attending their regular classes.

The Ministry, Lyonpo said, is committed to right the wrong that has taken place in one of the sacred institutions of learning in the country.

“While the Ministry has a robust teacher recruitment system in our public schools, this incident has revealed gaps in the recruitment process of teachers in our private schools. The Ministry has therefore commissioned a review of teacher recruitment system in the private schools,” said the Education Minister.

The minister also appealed to the general public and particularly the parents that this incident is an exception rather than the norm. “Our schools are safe and secure learning places. Principals and teachers around the country are committed to making schools truly ‘sacred temples of learning’,” he added. “While the recent incident at the private school cannot be condoned, it must also be treated as an aberration and we request the public not to generalize this despicable behavior of a teacher to all of our hardworking principals and teachers.”

The education minister yesterday also visited the private school and met the teachers; urging the teachers to exhibit courage and confidence to bring normalcy to the school at the earliest and also conveyed his support and solidarity.

Lyonpo also met the wife of the teacher and conveyed the ministry’s support to her and the three children.

“We, the Sherig Family, shall continue to work hard and be deserving of the trust and confidence of every parent in educating their children. We shall continue to work hard to make every school safe and secure and ensure that every child in school is kept out of harm’s way,” Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said.

Staff Reporter from Thimphu