- Teacher Jaishree Gilbert died by suicide at the Adventist school in Lucknow, India, by jumping from the third floor of the school.
- The school’s principal said Gilbert had been mentally disturbed after the death of her husband, but family members and others allege that harassment from the school’s administration led her to take her own life.
- K.R. Mathew, with the All India Seventh-Day Adventist Welfare Association, alleges that the school is deliberately involved in a cover-up.
28 July 2022 | Media news outlets in India are reporting that Jaishree Gilbert, who taught at the Seventh-day Adventist Senior Secondary School in Lucknow, India, died under “mysterious circumstances” while at the school on July 12, 2022.
School principal Raj Durai Raj said she died by suicide and had been mentally disturbed since the death of her husband, Jaswant Gilbert, from a heart attack in November 2021, reported The Times of India. On Friday, July 8, 2022, Jaishree Gilbert reportedly brandished her shoe at a staff member that she accused of harassing her, said Durai Raj. He said an investigative committee found her allegations baseless; consequently, Jaishree Gilbert was suspended from work and required to furnish a “mentally fit to work” medical certificate before she could resume her duties.
Durai Raj said the following Tuesday, July 12, 2022, Jaishree Gilbert came to school at 7:25 a.m. but did not speak to anyone. She went straight to the terrace on the third floor of the school and jumped to her death. Staff members rushed out when they heard a loud noise and found her lying in a pool of blood. They rushed her to a hospital where she was declared dead, reported The Times.
However, family members are reporting a very different story.
According to Arvind Gilbert, Jaishree Gilbert’s son, his mother had been depressed after the death of her husband but she had been suspended on frivolous charges, reported The Times of India.
According to a police complaint lodged by Naveen Singh Gilbert, another son of Jaishree Gilbert, she went to meet the principal on July 12, 2022, to request that her suspension be revoked. Later, Naveen Gilbert received a phone call and was asked to go to the school immediately. When he arrived, he said he found his mother lying in a school van with blood oozing from her head and mouth, reported News 18.
Naveen Gilbert informed the police and then rushed his mother to a private hospital, which referred him to another hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead upon arrival, said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Chiranjeev Nath Sinha.
Moreover, K. R. Mathew, president of the All India Seventh-Day Adventist Welfare Association, alleged in an email to Adventist Today that Jaishree Gilbert was not told why she was being asked to produce a “mentally fit to work” medical certificate. When she went to the principal on July 12, 2022, seeking an explanation and to resume work, Durairaj allegedly pushed her out of the office and said that she could be fired. Humiliated and overcome by the mental stress and verbal abuse, Jaishree Gilbert then killed herself, claimed Mathew.
Mathew also provided an alleged screenshot of a WhatsApp message from a group called “NIU Prayer Ministry 2.” Allegedly sent at 8:34 a.m. on July 12, 2022, by Northern Indian Union Treasurer Derald Bhengra, the message said: “Sad News: Mrs. Jaswant [sic] Gilbert from Lucknow School passed away this morning, she was feeling dizzy and fell. Was declared brought dead [sic] by the hospital. Please keep the family in prayer.”
Mathew alleged school administrators did not inform police of Jaishree Gilbert’s death and are deliberately spreading misinformation to cover up what really happened. Mathew is demanding an investigation into the matter by the Southern Asia Division.
(Photo: Students are seen standing outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist Senior Secondary School in Lucknow, India, in 2012. A teacher, Jaishree Gilbert, committed suicide at the school under “mysterious circumstances,” reported local news outlets. Photo via Seventh-Day Adventist Sr. Secondary School, Lucknow Facebook page.)