The principal and headmaster of the Kerala school where a 10-year-old child died of snakebite on Wednesday have been suspended by a deputy director of education, Malayala Manorama reported on Friday. The school’s Parents Teachers Association has also been dissolved.
Students of the school took out a protest march demanding stern action against their teachers over the death of Shehal Sherin, a fifth standard student, who died after being bitten by a snake inside her classroom.
After a preliminary probe, a teacher, Shijil, had been suspended for alleged lapse.
Kerala Human Rights Commission and the Child Rights Protection Commission have registered separate cases over the incident.
Students of the school marched in their uniform, raising slogans and holding placards, converged in front of the government vocational higher secondary school in Wayanad, PTI reported.
“We want justice for Shehala. Stern action should be taken against the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), the teachers who refused to rush the student to hospital and the doctors who refused to treat her,” a student told the news agency.
A boy student, with a plastic snake wrapped around his neck, said there is not even a first aid box in the school where there are snakes slithering everywhere on the playground and in classrooms. There are snake pits in many places in the school compound, he told PTI.
Wayanad district sessions judge A Harris visited the school on Friday morning and said the state of the school’s premises was unfortunate. “We are taking the situation seriously,” he told reporters.
District collectors of Pathanamthitta and Idukki ordered the education department to clean all school premises and make them reptile-free, Manorama reported.
Shehala Sherin was taken to hospital over an hour after the incident at around 3 p.m on Wednesday, her fellow students had alleged.
Though her parents rushed her to four hospitals where no anti-venom was administered and they were told to take the child to the Kozhikode Medical College hospital, which is about 90 km from Sulthan Bathery.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the incident was unfortunate and assured strong action against those responsible for the lapse in saving the child’s life.
“The teachers are supposed to educate the children on how to react in such situations. But in this case, the teachers, despite repeated requests from students failed to take the child to hospital,” the chief minister said.
Strong action will be taken against those responsible for any lapses in their duty, Vijayan added.
Congress leader and Wayanad MP, Rahul Gandhi wrote to Vijayan, saying the school’s “crumbling infrastructure” needed urgent attention of the state government.
A detailed report has been sought from the Deputy Director of the Education department and District Medical Officer on the lapses on the part of school and hospitals, where the child was taken.
Meanwhile, the government suspended a casualty medical officer of the Bathery taluk hospital for not administering anti-venom to the child.
Clashes with the police
Activists of the Student Federation of India clashed with the police when they attempted to enter the compound of the collectorate in Wayanad during a protest over the death.
Mathrubhumi reported that students, who reached the collectorate, were forcefully evicted from the premises.
Several student outfits—Kerala Students Union, Muslims Students Federation, ABVP and All India Students Federation—took out protest marches towards the collectorate on Friday.
(With PTI inputs)