Headmistress distressed over official apathy kills self

Representational image. Photo: Canva/Onmanorama

Vaikom: In a tragic incident a headmistress of a school killed herself apparently owing to mental distress over work pressure.

The deceased is K Sreeja, 48, the headmistress of the Government Lower Primary School at Polassery in Vaikom in Kerala's Kottayam district.

She was found hanging inside her house on Friday evening.

Mental stress due to workload forced her to take the extreme step, her relatives claimed.

Recently, Sreeja had requested the authorities to cancel her promotion, but her application in this regard was turned down and it upset her.

The transfer that recoiled

Sreeja, who was a teacher at the Government Girls’ High School an Vaikom, got promotion as the headmistress of the Government Lower Primary School at Keezhoor on June 1. She joined for duty the next day, but sSoon, she went on leave as she could not handle the pressure of the new post that demanded more responsibilities.

Sreeja wanted to avoid the workload that came with the job of a headmistress. She sent a request to the Education Minister on July 7, seeking to cancel her promotion while citing that her husband was unwell.

In her application, she also requested to appoint her as a teacher at the school where she had previously worked in the Vaikom area. The Kuravilangad sub-district education officer replied to Sreeja that there is no provision in the rules to consider her request. She was transferred to the Polassery school on August 4.

The Vaikom sub-district Committee of the Kerala Pradesh School Teachers' Association regretted the turn of events and the lack of a humane approach in Sreeja's case. “Earlier, promotions were cancelled in Pathanamthitta and Malappuram. Authorities should have replied to Sreeja teacher only after ascertaining her circumstances. Such incidents should not recur,” the Association said.

Sreeja's husband Ramesh Kumar is an employee of the Munisff Court at Vaikom. The couple have a son, Karthik Ramesh.

Son's claim

Karthik said that his mother had been mentally stressed due to various reasons ever since she got the promotion.

“She had also sought treatment at a private hospital in Kakkanad. The doctor also advised to avoid jobs that came with heavy responsibilities to fully regain mental health. Subsequently, she gave the request to cancel her promotion as headmistress and to be allowed to continue in the teaching post. But she got no consideration from the authorities. Will give a complaint to the police, seeking action against the authorities concerned,” Karthik claimed.

No complaint in this regard was received directly at the Assistant Educational Office at Vaikom, said Preetha Ramachandran, the former Assistant Educational Officer here. Preetha is currently the Deputy Director of the Education Department.

Sreeja's funeral was held on Saturday. The Vaikom police have filed a case of unnatural death.

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