They demand action against those responsible for the death of the child

The government should come out with comprehensive safety measures to ensure the safety of children in schools, said V. Pavithra, mother of V. Malathy, an LKG student who died after falling into the septic tank on the premises of Christ Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Uthangarai in the district on Friday.

Malathy was cremated on Saturday in Kattamaduvu Panchayat under Chengam Panchayat Union in Tiruvannamalai district. Anger and anguish were palpable as the bereaved parents narrated the tragic incident and called for stringent protective measures.

K. Venkatesan, father of the child, alleged that the school management failed to save the child, despite other children informing teachers that the girl fell into the septic tank.

They demanded Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s intervention in the matter and wanted action to be taken against those responsible for the death of the child.

Narrating Friday’s sequence of events, he said the child did not return home along with her brother V. Praveen who was studying in UKG.

On learning she was in trouble, Mr. Venkatesan rushed to the school along with his wife, but he was not allowed into the campus. Only after the intervention from the parents of other students, the school authorities opened the gate.

Mr. Venkatesan alleged that the school authorities refused to remove the body of the girl from the school and that a policeman asked him to sign on a plain paper. But, he refused to do so.

V. Govindasamy, District Secretariat Member, Communist Party of India (Marxist), said the lack of proper inspection of the safety measures to protect the children inside the school promises was the main reason for the tragic incident.

The school education authorities had failed to ascertain safety in the schools across the district, he alleged. The party would hold a demonstration along with the family members near the four-road junction in Uthangarai on Tuesday, seeking action against the guilty and also urging the State government to give suitable compensation to the girl’s family.

A teacher of the school attributed the incident to the absence of a physical education teacher on that day. The septic tank was cleaned once in three days. On Friday, those who were cleaning it kept the tank partially open and went out for lunch as the motor was being repaired.

S. Suganya, Chief Educational Officer, who inspected the school premises on Friday evening, told The Hindu that the death of the child could have been averted if the management had been vigilant. All the schools in the district should follow the safety norms laid down by the government. She also said that the inspection report was sent to the Director of Matriculation Schools.

Collector T.P. Rajesh told The Hindu that the district administration would recommend compensation.

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