Continuing allegations of abuse, mistreatment and neglect of children in ISKCON gurukulas
Posted September 26, 2004
Hare Krsna and All Glories to Srila Prabhupada,
It is quite dismaying to hear any question about the care and treatment of children in any facility connected with ISKCON. This is unacceptable in any context.
Having received teaching credentials in the United States (from the state of California) and having been involved in education for the last twenty-five years, my husband and I are annoyed that there are still continuing allegations involving the mistreatment of children, whether in the United States, India, or any other country.
The issue of mistreatment of children is not open to debate and needs to be stopped. As initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada since 1971, we have been hearing first-hand about this nonsense continually and it sickens us.
Do a formal, legal investigation. If it means following "karmi" procedure, then do it. If the allegations are proven true, then the people in question are out -- out of any contact, ever again with any children anywhere under any circumstances.
Sexual predators are attracted to schools. ISKCON must follow a regimented criteria for placing adults in positions of authority, especially when dealing with children. What is the current criteria for teaching in ISKCON? IS there any criteria? At least follow the example set by responsible educational institutions. Having qualified, professional adults in these positions would provide much more stability and safety. If we don't have enough qualified people to teach it's because we are not sending them for the education they need. Get them qualified by getting them educated.
Besides having been professional educators, we are parents and grandparents of children born "into the movement." Our children are almost thirty now but we knew we were not going to "enroll" our children in any gurukula in the 1970's and still would not do so today. WE taught our children about Krsna and let the schools teach material science. My son, Batu Gopal, is now an initiated Brahmin with a Masters Degree in Physics from the University of Washington. Our 7 year-old-grandson is being taught about Krsna by our family and attends the local elementary school, which we monitor by attending open houses and going on field trips with the class.
One issue you are all forgetting is the responsibility of parenthood. Srila Prabhupada said the raise "Krsna conscious children." Children are not meant to be had as a result of lust and then shipped off for someone else to raise. If you have children, they are your responsibility to protect and giving them Krsna is the greatest protection.
Ask yourself: What would Prabhupada do?
Lilamanjari dasi and Padmanabha das (ACBSP)
Linda and Phillip Brugalette
Seattle, Washington, USA