The Surat District Education Officer has ordered an inquiry into the affairs of a city school which forced boys and girls in the age group of 10-14 years to walk barefoot over a coal fire bed and broken pieces of glass.

The exercise, in the name of boosting the children's self-confidence, was conducted in the presence of the parents and elders who claimed to have “enjoyed the show.”

The authorities of the school, Riverdale Academy, did not find anything amiss in the incident, claiming that it organised summer camps for the children every year for the last five years. Among other events conducted were rope-climbing and river crossings, walking on fire and broken glass pieces.

‘Parents join in'

Kalpesh Patel, one of the directors of the school, said that the exercise involved children from other schools and their parents also. So far there had been no complaints or any untoward incident, he added.

“Even the teachers and parents join the rope-climbing and river-crossing events, and some of the parents themselves take a look at the walk over the coal fire and broken glass pieces enthusiastically,” Mr. Patel said.

He said the school gave the children training in the basics of meditation, which helped them complete these tasks easily.

‘No incident'

Mr. Patel denied that there was any untoward incident during the events held recently. Of the 126 children who took part, only one girl broke down before walking over the fire bed and was withdrawn from the event. She, however, completed the other events like rope-climbing and river crossing, he added.

District Education Officer K.R. Jhanjhuria, however, said the school had not taken any permission to organise such events, and ordered Education Department officials to inquire whether the school violated any law that would invite action against the authorities.