Parents don’t blame school for tragedy that claimed four lives

Barely a month ago, the teachers of C.S. Ramachary Memorial Higher Secondary School at Tirunagar were in high spirits over the achievement of their student B.Keerthana, who was ranked third in the State in the Class X examinations.

On Friday, their joy turned to grief when news broke that four Class XII students from the school, on an educational tour of Tuticorin, had drowned in the sea.

Scores of teachers, including Principal V.Vidya, broke down on hearing the news.

This was the first such tragedy to befall the school, the Principal pointed out. The school had routinely organised one-day trips for students in the past. Last year they were taken to Coimbatore.

When the tragic news trickled in, the school was immersed in an inter-school cultural event organised by its alumni association.

The proceedings were abruptly stopped and a holiday was declared for the school.

No explanation was given, as the management did not want to create panic among the students.

The parents of the four students – S.Parameswaran (16), Sathish (17), P.Devanand (16) and R.Vishnu (16) – were informed of the tragedy and arrangements were made for them to reach Tuticorin. By then, the news had spread and anxious parents gathered on the school premises.

R.Shanmugavel, father of a Class X student who was part of the tour and confirmed to be safe, said he had no complaints against the school or its teachers.

“The teachers had planned everything diligently. The tour was optional and students who did not wish to participate in it were asked to attend classes. A detailed itinerary for the tour was also issued to the parents, along with the mobile phone numbers of three male and two female teachers accompanying the students. The parents were asked to drop the students at the school campus at 4.30 a.m. The Principal had come to the school even at that odd hour, asked the students to join her in prayers and warned them against engaging in daredevilry. Despite her warnings, the unfortunate incident had occurred,” he said, as his wife S.Subburani nodded in agreement.

P.Rengaraj, father of a Class XII student, said he did not permit his daughter to go on excursions this year as she had fallen ill after last year’s tour.

“Teachers cannot be blamed for everything. It is very difficult to control students of higher secondary classes, especially boys, as they will not listen to anything that the teachers say during such tours,” he added.

A.L.Muthu, a parent, remarked he was moved to see the schoolteachers in tears on Friday, after having seen them happy since the Class X results were announced. “It ( the drowning) was an accident. We will not blame the teachers,” he said.

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