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TN Student Death: A Section of Parents Ask, ‘What About Our Kids' Future?'

Tamil Nadu government is taking steps to enrol other students in nearby government and private schools.

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The death of the girl has shocked us all and we want the police to investigate the involvement of the management in the case. But what about our kids?
Aggrieved Parent

Once bustling with kids in uniforms and yellow buses, the school in Kaniyamoor in Tamil Nadu's Chinna Salem wears a deserted look. Beyond the yellow barricades lined up in front of the gate, one can notice the soot accumulated on the buildings, buses with their steel skeletons exposed and charred wooden desks.

The case of a 17-year-old schoolgirl who allegedly killed herself inside school premises in Kallakurichi has rattled the state. Her parents had moved the Madras High Court alleging errors in the investigation and post-mortem and have refused to accept the body.

While the cause of her death is still unknown, the parents of the other students in the school are worried about the future of their wards as the institution has been shut down.

Tamil Nadu government is taking steps to enrol other students in nearby government and private schools.

Tamil Nadu Education Minister Anbil Mahesh said the state government is taking steps to enrol them in nearby government schools and other private schools.

(Image: The Quint)

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‘Shutting Down the School Due to the Violence Could Set a Bad Precedent’

On 19 July, Maheshwari* (name changed), stood outside the school gates hoping for answers. At least 10 people in her extended family have studied in this school over the past 15 years.

The English-medium school was established in 1988 and has grades from 1 to 12. It has 52 classrooms, electric connections, a playground, a library with over 5,000 books, and computer labs.

Tamil Nadu government is taking steps to enrol other students in nearby government and private schools.

Alleging they’ve paid the fees for the entire academic year, a parent asked,

"How can we afford to pay for school fees all over again? Admissions to all schools are closed now and are you telling us to run from one school to another during COVID, trying to secure their education?"

Five people, including the headmaster, secretary, principal, and two teachers of the private school were arrested and remanded in Salem central jail for 15 days.

On 17 July, chaos had ensued in Chinnasalem as protesters set fire to vehicles, pelted stones, set parts of the school building on fire and vandalised the school name board.

A total of 221 persons have been arrested in the case while 20 juveniles were sent to an Observation Home in Gingee in Villupuram district.

While the state government has come down heavily against those who protested demanding justice for her, a parents of a student said they need to come together to “resurrect the school.”

“If the state government really wants to do it, then they can repair the school in 10 days. What about the plight of students in 10th and 12th grades? The government needs to consider that. If the Collectorate or any other government building catches on fire, won't they take immediate measures?," asked the parent of a X grader.

Tamil Nadu government is taking steps to enrol other students in nearby government and private schools.

A total of 221 persons have been arrested in the case while 20 juveniles were sent to an Observation Home in Gingee in Villupuram district.

(Image: The Quint)

“The life of 4,000 students hang in the balance,” said the father of a 15-year-old.

Another parent said that “shutting down the school due to the violence could set a bad precedent.”

“So, if miscreants do this, will they shut down every school? The government can also seek help from NGOs and others to get furniture and other school supplies,” he said.

School Had No Permission to Run Hostel

When asked about the status of the students studying at the private school, Tamil Nadu Education Minister Anbil Mahesh said the state government is taking steps to enrol them in nearby government schools and other private schools.

"It is impossible and also very risky to relocate 4,000 kids to another school. We are hearing that the school management is cooperating with the investigation, so why jeopardise the lives of so many kids? Our fair demand is for the government to fix the school and make sure our children resume their education."
Aggrieved Parent
Tamil Nadu government is taking steps to enrol other students in nearby government and private schools.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TNCPCR) on Thursday said that the hostel where the girl student was residing had been running without the mandatory permission from the government.

The chairperson of the commission, Saraswathy Rangasamy said that though the District Collector had directed all institutions equipped with hostel facilities to apply for licenses, the school had not followed the norms. “This is a punishable offence,” she added.

When asked why there was no separate warden at the hostel, the official said, “had the school applied for the license, they would’ve been informed of all the facilities that are required in such an establishment.”

Reiterating their demand to reopen the school, a parent responded that the school has ample buses that can facilitate the kids to attend school as day scholars.

“If one of us claps, nothing will happen. But if all of us clap together, we can create noise and rebuild our kids' lives,” he added.

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