Parents blame school for boy's death

Parents blame school for boy's death

Parents and relatives of six-year-old Manish, who was mowed down by a school van on Wednesday, have demanded that the Outreach School take “full blame” for the child’s death as the accident occurred in its campus in Wilson Garden.

On Thursday, they staged a protest against the school authorities and said the death should not be passed off as “just an accident”. For its part, the school said that while it took responsibility for what happened, “some fault lies with the boy too”. It was also considering paying compensation to the boy’s family, and posting more security guards and teachers as a safety measure.

The protesters — some of whom were parents of other students from the school — brought Manish’s body into the school playground after a post-mortem was performed at the Bowring Hospital. The school, however, did not open for the day.

Manish’s uncle, Venkatesh, alleged that though it was an accident, the school management had “shown negligence” which led to the loss of a life. He further said the incident should serve as a wake-up call to all schools about the safety of young children on the campus. “We want the school to take all corrective measures so that such an incident does not recur,” he stressed, adding that the principal and senior teachers had assured him that all adequate measures would be enforced to avoid such incidents in future.

Abdul Azeez, a parent of another student at the school who also took part in the protest, said his son was witness to the accident. The issue was not only about Manish but concerned all students, he added.

S Raju, a trustee of the school, justified not informing the boy’s mother immediately. He said the school authorities were “extremely worried” when the accident occurred and found it “more important” to rush the boy to hospital. “Anyone would have done what we did. Police were promptly called and the school authorities were present the whole time,” he claimed. “In fact, the mother reached hospital in a school vehicle.”

Raju further said schoolchildren were allowed into the playground. “They can leave through the front gate. It seems the mother came late to pick up the child and during this time the boy was in the playground when the incident occurred. The school takes responsibility for the incident, but to an extent the fault also lies with the boy,” he added.

He also said that more teachers would be posted to monitor the campus after school hours and vans banned from the school premises. A meeting is scheduled for Sunday to decide on the compensation for the family.

The Block Education Officer (BEO) and senior police officers were briefed by the school’s secretary, Raju said.

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