Candlelight march held against Modern School over girl’s death (Lead)

April 22nd, 2009 - 11:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Around 300 people, mostly parents and students of Modern School, held a brief candlelight march Wednesday, mourning the death of a Class 12 student following an asthmatic attack in school and protesting the school authorities’ negligence.
The parents who held the march outside Modern School, Vasant Vihar, alleged that the school charges Rs.5,000 as medical fees but does not have a doctor for any emergencies.

“The school charges an exorbitant amount in the name of medical expenses from us. But the school did not have adequate facilities to check the urgent situation of our daughter,” said Bani Bhatia, mother of Aakriti, the girl who died Monday.

Aakriti, who was suffering from asthma, had complained of breathlessness to her teacher and had later called up and informed her mother as well. She was shifted to the school’s sports room and put on oxygen. As her condition deteriorated, she was rushed to the Holy Angels hospital, where doctors declared her dead.

Her parents alleged that she died because of the negligence of the school administration.

“The school doesn’t have any doctor. The school also didn’t have a general nebulizer, which provides immediate relief to asthma patients,” Bani added.

Students too alleged that the school had only the basic medicines available and was not equipped to handle any emergencies.

“Since March we don’t have a doctor in school. The doctor we had himself could not see properly and was slightly deaf. Moreover the sick child has to first climb one floor to get medication. This is ridiculous,” said a student on condition of anonymity.

The parents also accused school authorities of intimidating the children against speaking against the institute.

“The school administration told the children that if they join protests and speak to the media, they would be rusticated. Similarly, if the teachers do the same, they too would be made to resign,” said Vipin Bhatia, Aakriti’s father.

School principal Goldy Malhotra, however, refuted these allegations and said: “We don’t agree that there was negligence on our part. The school has always been taking care of the students and we have a nurse to attend to any medical emergency.”

Aakriti’s family has lodged a complaint at the Vasant Vihar police station, alleging negligence on the school’s part.

In the wake of Aakriti’s death, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury advocated compulsory health checks in schools.

“We must be cautious and periodical health checks should be made compulsory in all schools. We should give quality education and education with human face for saving our children,” said Chowdhury.

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