M. Devaraj (15), a class X student of government- ided St. Mary’s High School, Cheyyur, died when a portion of the ceiling of a room in the nearby Parish Priest and School Correspondent’s quarters gave way at about 3-30 a.m. on Saturday. Five of the 19 students, who also stayed in the quarters on Friday night (February 5), sustained injuries.
Devaraj, a day scholar from Thazhuthalikuppam near Panaiyur on East Coast Road, and other students were attending late-night special coaching classes for weak students, conducted by School Correspondent Father Arokiya Raymond, also the Headmaster of the government-aided school, in the quarters.
Devaraj and others had gone to bed around 11 p.m. after classes.
According to Madhankumar, who was admitted as inpatient to Chengalpattu Medical College Hospital, a portion of cement plastering came off the ceiling and fell on the students sleeping in the hall.
Devaraj became unconscious and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. “We were made to attend the special coaching classes that commenced on February 4 at the Priest’s quarters, where food and accommodation were provided,” he said.
His father, Mani of Devarajapuram near Cheyyur, a mason, told reporters that he had sent his son to the yearend coaching classes since the school management promised that rigorous coaching till late in the night and from 4 a.m. in the morning would be conducted to help weak students prepare themselves for the public examinations.
Chief Education Officer T. Mohanakumar said schools conducting in-house late night coaching classes before public examination was a common practice in rural areas.
A detailed report after inspecting the place of accident along with M.P.Vijayakumar, Revenue Divisional Officer, Madurantakam; P. Murugan, District Education Officer, and S.P. Loganathan, Tasildar, Cheyyur, would be forwarded to the District Administration, he added.
Madhankumar, Prasanth, Ajithkumar, all from Devarajapuram, Thirunavukkarasu of North Cheyyur, and Haridoss of Mudaliyarkuppam, were the students who sustained injuries.
The Cheyyur police have registered a case under section 304(a) of IPC (Causing death by negligence) and handed over the body of Devaraj to his relatives after a post-mortem.
Unrecognised school closed
The CEO has ordered the closure of Annai Vailankanni Matriculation School at Oragadam, near Wallajahbad, from Monday (February 8) as the school was being run without government recognition.
Arrangements have been made for accommodating the students in the nearby educational institutions, according to District Collector Santosh K. Misra.