Parents complain they were not informed of accident

After parents heard about the death of a student of PSBB Senior Secondary School in K.K. Nagar, they gathered in huge numbers at the school gate.

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The wait was traumatic for them as they received no communication from the school regarding the accident. With many rumours doing the rounds, there was commotion as anxious parents queued up outside the school. Even after a few hours, all they got to know was that there would no change in school closing hours on Thursday.

A parent, whose child had swimming classes on Thursday, rushed to the school as soon as he got to know about the incident.

“My child had a swimming class today, and I want to know what happened,” he said. Several parents who came in the morning left with their children in the afternoon.

Even parents whose children usually travel by school bus or private transport gathered outside the school. S. Radhakrishnan, whose child studies in class III, said, he went to the school after watching the news on television.

“There was a power cut in our neighbourhood in the morning, which is why I found out about the accident only in the afternoon. Else, many more parents who live near the school would have gathered there,” he said.

Later in the afternoon, principal Indira Vaidyanathan said, “When Ranjan came to school in the morning, he was fine. After he swam on the three-feet side, he started coughing, and was immediately taken to K.M. Nursing Home, and later, to Vijaya Hospital. We took all precautions, and the class teacher, life guard and coach were present near the pool.”

Joint commissioner of police (south), K.P. Shanmuga Rajeswaran, said, five people including the swimming coach and physical director had been arrested.

Asked if action would be taken against the school correspondent or senior representatives like in the case of Zion Matriculation School, where a student died after falling through a hole in the school bus last month, Mr. Rajeswaran said further arrests would be made after detailed investigation.

While Ranjan’s parents refused to speak to the media, his grandfather Shanmugham said the boy was of sound health and had no history of any illness. “It is the negligence of the school that led to the death of my grandson,” he said.

According to city-based neurologist Prithika Chary, “It could prove fatal even for an experienced swimmer if water accidentally entered the lungs. It could cause aspiration leading to instant death. This could be what happened to Ranjan on Thursday.”

Sheela Rajendra, deputy dean & director and correspondent, said: “We have not had a spare minute since morning, and the police are investigating the case. We cannot make any comment now. All I can say is that we are shattered.” She said the media was floating many versions of what had happened, but refrained from giving a detailed response.

A parent said that at the beginning of the academic year, they had been allowed to see the pool, and were demonstrated the manner in which classes would be conducted. “There were three trainers and an attendant,” she said, adding that swimming was a compulsory module for classes III to VIII. Another parent, whose child studies in class III, said he had requested that parents be allowed during initial swimming classes, but his request was turned down.

After the accident, the school gates remained locked and the first sign of communication was a huge green board placed near the gate around 2.30 p.m., informing parents that school would close as per schedule. The school has declared a holiday on Friday.

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