A class 3 student in Kaup Padu suffers burns after hot water spilled over her

The District Education Resource Centre, a nongovernmental organisation, on Thursday held the school authorities responsible for the burns suffered by a nine-year-old girl at a school in Kaup Padu last week.

Renuka, a Class 3 student of Government Higher Primary School, had suffered partial burns on her face and chest when she ran into Dhanya, a Class 7 student, who was carrying a jug of hot water to the staffroom on March 7. The girl is now undergoing treatment at the District Government Hospital in Udupi.

Jayanti, district coordinator of DERC, who spoke to presspersons here, faulted school authorities for either asking or allowing a student to fetch hot water. “If the school had not allowed it, the incident would not have happened,” she said. She also accused the police of not discharging their duties properly. “Since it was a medico-legal case, the police should have brought the matter to the notice of the Child Welfare Committee or the District Child Protection Unit. This is a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act,” she said.

Janardhan Bhandarkar, president of DERC, echoed his colleague’s views and accused the Education Department of cover up. However, the girl’s parents are firmly behind the school authorities. “We are satisfied with the prompt action taken by the school authorities in taking her to the hospital,” Kasturi, mother of the girl said. Ms. Kasturi, originally from Nimbalgudi in Bagalkot, said the school authorities immediately rushed Renuka to a nursing home in Kaup.

She was shifted to the District Government Hospital three days later. Sudesh Kumar, general surgeon treating Renuka at the hospital, said the girl had recovered and would be out in a couple of days.

Officials at the Education Department have also raised objection to children being assigned odd tasks. Ashok Kamath, Education Officer at Department of Public Instruction, said it was wrong to give the vessel containing hot water to a student. But, Bhaskar, Assistant Teacher at the school, says children are generally not given such tasks. “Usually the cook from the school’s mid-day meal kitchen brings hot drinking water to the staffroom. It is a one-off case. An accident,” he says.

Reacting to the demand made by the NGO to refer the case to the Child Welfare Committee and District Child Protection Unit, Superintendent of Police M.B. Boralingaiah said the matter would be brought to the notice of the departments concerned.

More In: Mangaluru