The Jakarta Post
Hundreds of students of a state junior high school in Wonogiri, Central Java, staged a rally on Monday to demand an English teacher not be allowed to continue working over accusations that he sexually harassed a female student.
The protest was the second in a week held by the students to show support for the alleged victim. The first took place on Saturday in Slogohimo district, Wonogiri.
The students accused the teacher, identified only as HM, of groping a female student’s breast in front of other students, reportedly as punishment for not doing her homework.
“So there were many students who saw it, prompting students to stage the rally,” said a student who asked for anonymity.
Following the protest on Saturday, the school’s acting headmaster Martono promised the students that management would demand an explanation from the teacher in question.
Martono also told the students that if management found any indication the incident had taken place, the school would suspend the teacher to allow the school to investigate further.
“As of now we have yet to receive any clarification, but the students have already conducted another the protest,” Martono said on Monday. “Everything needs to be checked first, starting with the teacher, the student and the witnesses. Without clarification, it is impossible for the school to punish him.”
The school management has reported the case to the Wonogiri Education and Culture Agency, but Martono said the school would first try to handle the case internally.
“We will settle the case here first. I will ask for written reports on the case from the accused teacher, students and other teachers,” he said.
As for the students’ demand, Martono said he does not have the authority to dismiss the accused teacher or ban him from teaching at the school.
“It’s under the authority of the agency. I have informed them about this allegation,” Martono said.
The Wonogiri Education and Culture Agency’s teacher division head, Retno Puspitorini, said that her office has already set up a team to investigate HM.
“We will start the examination on Tuesday,” said Retno, adding that the accused teacher would be summoned to the agency’s office, along with the victim.
Slogohimo Police chief Adj. Comr. Kukuh Wiyono said he was aware of the student demonstrations, but the force had not yet started an investigation into the alleged assault because no report had been filed with the police, either by the victim or her family.
“It’s the nature of such a case that the police can only launch an investigation if there is a complaint,” he said. (ipa)