Distraught over treatment meted out to them by the headmistress, seven girl students of a government school in Poigaikaraipatti near here ate bananas laced with toxins on Thursday.

The students, who were hospitalised, are out of danger. The Class VII students of of were taken to the Government Rajaji Hospital here after classmates found them lying unconscious in the classroom.

A teacher is understood to have summoned the girls’ parents two days earlier to complain that their wards were playing truant. However, the parents claimed that the children were harassed by their teachers for taking part in folk dances in the village.

"The headmistress did not like the children taking part in events connected with the village festivals and asked them to focus on their studies instead," alleged Thirukumaran, father of one of the victims. "She had been harassing our children for some time," he added. The parents had lodged a complaint with the Appantirupathi police against the headmistress.

But Chief Educational Officer C. Amuthavalli said the students were irregular to school and that their parents were informed.

The headmistress could not be reached.

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