DPS Faridabad fires teacher who lost her son to suicide following alleged sexual assault in school

By: Deepshikha Soni
18 Jul 2022 12:06:13 PM CSMC, Chitkara University, Punjab

Fine arts teacher in DPS Greater Faridabad and a single mother, Aarti Malhotra, has been temporarily relieved of her services without any explanation due to the ongoing investigation of her son's sexual assault and suicide case. He was a student in the same school. 


Arvey Malhotra, son of Aarti Malhotra and a class 10th student of DPS Greater Faridabad, died by suicide on February 24, 2022, allegedly due to prolonged homophobic bullying, dismissal of his disability, and sexual harassment and sexual assault. The police recovered a suicide note from Arvey’s residence in which he blamed the school authorities for his death. The letter read, “This school has killed me. Especially the higher authorities. Mamta Gupta (Senior Academic Coordination in DPS) and others.”


Haryana Police arrested Mamta Gupta under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of IPC on February 27. She was later granted bail. 


During a virtual press conference organised by an LGBTQ+ community page, Yes, We Exist and Aarti Malhotra, media persons were informed that Mamta Gupta is likely to be reinstated by DPS and may start teaching students from this month. Meanwhile, Malhotra has been unlawfully terminated.


However, the school claims that Arvey’s mother has not been terminated, only ‘temporarily suspended for the duration of the investigation’, and she has received her salary every month, the latest being on July 6.


Aarti told the media that Mamta Gupta was “dismissive of my child’s disability” and refused to assist in his science exam on February 21, 2022, ignoring the CBSE guidelines to extend facilities of a scribe for differently-abled candidates of Class 10th and 12th. Aarti claims this was the final trigger that pushed Arvey to end his life.


Arvey had dyslexia and was an artist passionate about nail arts and making jewellery. Unfortunately, due to his unconventional interests, which did not sit well with societal norms, he was subjected to homophobic bullying in school since sixth grade. As a result, Arvey was being treated for depression and was undergoing psychological therapy.


On asking whether Arvey’s therapist was aware of his bullying and harassment, “The therapist was aware of the incidents that took place with him in school, the therapist was in touch with the counsellor at the school as well. However, the therapist backtracked after the police investigation commenced. “So, the therapist is not partaking or speaking about all the information she had,” Jeet, founder of Yes, We Exist, told Newshound India Foundation.


Following many complaints from Arvey and his mother, they were allegedly labelled troublemakers by the school for raising their voices against the bullying and were accused of taking undue advantage of his mental health issues.


Aarti Malhotra also alleges that her son was sexually harassed and was raped many times by his fellow students for his sexuality. During the conference, she said Arvey, in his notes, gave nine names who allegedly locked him in the school washroom, wherein he was blindfolded, stripped, and sexually assaulted by the students. 


Upon filing a complaint with the school administration, the school threatened not to promote Arvey next year instead of taking action.


Over school’s dismissal of Arvey’s disability and insensitive behaviour, Jeet said, “There is less awareness about the mental health issues in the country, more than earlier but still very less, because of which any student who has an anomaly or has any additional requirements, they(school authorities and administration) immediately consider such student as unwanted or troublemaking.”


“Often students with autism suffer equally terrible treatment by most schools where teachers consider them not smart enough without realising their medical statuses.” “That’s why sensitisation of educational institutions is of utmost importance,” he told Newshound India Foundation.


Aarti also informed that no sex education workshop or POCSO workshop was conducted in the school during her tenure. She added that a seminar was undertaken only after her son’s death.


The fine arts teacher claims that despite sharing all the incriminating evidence against the accused nine students, Haryana police have failed to take stringent action. No charge sheet has been filed even after four months. Aarti filed a complaint with the Home Minister of Haryana Anil Vij against the Special Investigation Team (SIT), following which the SIT was changed. However, still, no action has been taken. 


She said that police responded to her complaints by saying, “bullying is very normal.”


While talking to NHIF, commenting on the police’s casual outlook on the bullying culture and normalising it, Jeet said, “It comes as no surprise. Police are so used to seeing heinous crimes daily that they have become very insensitive towards it, that bullying is common, and they are not wrong. Bullying is widespread across all educational institutions in India.”


“In fact, according to a UNESCO report based on a survey they conducted in Tamilnadu, showed that over 50 per cent of students from LGBTQ+ community undergo harassment and bullying in school,” he added.


Aarti also accused the Police of leaking the evidence material shared by her with the school, as parts of it were used by Ms. Mamta Gupta during her bail hearing. Thus, they refrained from sharing evidence with the media.


NCERT, in October 2021, dropped a gender-neutral training manual for teachers assuring a more LGBTQ+ inclusive behaviour. However, the manual was removed from the website within seven days following the Right-winged criticism on social media. 

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