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Apr 24, 2009 at 08:35am IST

Akkriti death: Parents outraged, blame school

New Delhi: Class XII student of Modern School Vasant Vihar, Akkriti Bhatia, died after suffering an asthma attack in school on Tuesday morning.

Akkriti's parents have blamed school authorities for reacting late in taking her to the hospital.

According to the school, the Commerce student complained of breathing trouble at 10:20 hrs IST on Tuesday morning; she was attending class at the time. She was reportedly given first-aid in school and taken to Holy Angels Hospital, Basant Lok, where doctors declared her dead on arrival. Akkriti reportedly suffered from asthma.

While school authorities said the school nurse gave Bhatia oxygen and then took her to hospital, her father Vipin Bhatia alleged: "They waited till we sent a car to take her to the hospital; that's why she died. They had asked her to go to the second floor for permission to go home, and then asked her to go to the sports teachers' room. All this running around aggravated her problem."

School denies negligence charge."

However, the school principal Goldy Malhotra denied there was any delay on their part. She blamed the family for the delay in taking her to hospital.

"She was given oxygen and then she said she felt much better. The teacher told her she won't be taken to her home because she needed medical help. Then she was taken into the car and she was made to speak to her mother through the driver's phone. Mrs Kutty (the teacher who accompanied her to the hospital) also told her mother to come along because it's an emergency situation. Sometime between then and before she was taken into the hospital, she collapsed," the principal stated.

The Managing trustee of Modern School, Ashok Pratap Singh said, "This was a very unfortunate incident. I am going to make sure an investigation is conducted."

The victim's aunt, Payal Verma, stays in Green Park; the Bhatias' residence is on Siri Fort Road.

Payal Verma said, "The school authorities never called us up. Akkriti called us and said she was doing fine and askd for the car. We sent the car to her. Her mother and father called the school but no called them from the school. The school has been very negligent. Akkriti could have been saved if quicker action was taken. The principal did not even come out and see her. Akkriti was sent to the hospital with two friends who were not even 18 and a nurse who was incompetent. The principal has been inhuman. She does not have a humane side to her at all. There has been no apology from her. We want a committee to be established and Goldy Malhotra to step down."

Akkriti's mother added, "I don't have anything to do now. She's already gone now. If a committee has been committed it should do justice to me. They should force the principal to resign and an enquiry should be done. She should be asked if it had been her child would she have behaved and acted in the same way."

Parents of other students also expressed their outrage over the death. One parent said that so many cars of teachers were parked in the school and yet no one offered the child any help. Another parent said that it was sad the school authorities did not react for nearly an hour after Akkriti was reported ill.

Students too were upset saying that the least the principal should do is to say sorry and resign over the incident. Some students also stated that Akkriti was asked to arrange her own car so she could go to a hospital.

Other schools too have reacted to the incident. Principal of DPS RK Puram, Shyama Chona said, "What the school lacked was the complete empathy for the child who was unwell. How can they ignore child pleas? The Government needs to make it mandatory to have ambulances and a doctor to take care of children in an emergency. And this needs to be done in both government and public schools."

Meanwhile, taking cognizance of the alleged negligence the National Child Rights Commission (NCRC) has said it would write to the Delhi Commission on the issue.

"We would be writing to the Delhi Commission tomorrow to give a detailed report on the incident which led to the student's death. Till now we have not taken any action on the issue and are waiting for the final report. We will respond after getting the full facts," said NCRC chairperson Shanta Sinha.

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has issued a notice to Modern School, Vasant Vihar, for its alleged act of negligence in saving the life of the student who died as she could not receive timely medical aid.

The school has been asked to file its reply within seven days, the DCPCR said adding that the Delhi Education Secretary and Director have also been served a notice in this regard.

The Delhi government too has stepped in with Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely saying, "I have directed the Secretary of Education to form a committee on this matter and have told the local deputy director and education officer to be part of this committee. I have asked them to submit the final report on the matter in 15 days."

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