Ashok Pratap Singh, managing trustee, Modern School Trust, may have announced his decision of initiating an inquiry into Akkriti Bhatia’s death on Thursday, but he also made it clear that an educational institution “is not meant to be a hospital” and that parents should not expect it to be as “well equipped as one.”
Bhatia died of an asthma attack on Monday. She was at school when she suffered the attack and was administered preliminary medical help, but died before she could reach a hospital.
Speaking to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of a press conference called at the school on Thursday, Singh said: “I completely recognise the importance of any school to be able to give proper medical care to a student. But, may I also venture to say that a school is not meant to be a hospital, or have every facility that is available there.”
Apart from announcing an inquiry, Singh also promised to “look into the medical preparedness of the school immediately.” “We’ll try and strengthen our arrangement with hospitals closer to the school and have an emergency doctor on-call ,” he added while hinting at the possibility of the school also owning an ambulance soon.
The slew of announcements, however, came amidst utter chaos triggered by a bitter confrontation between Bhatia’s family, friends and the school authorities. Bhatia’s parents asked the school to accept moral responsibility for the student’s death and the principal’s resignation.
The situation worsened with a section of students, too, turning against their principal and intermittently shouting slogans calling for “Justice for Akkriti”. A few students of classes XI and XII had even refused to attend classes on Thursday morning to protest outside the school.
Though assuring that no disciplinary action will be taken against these students, Principal Goldy Malhotra felt that their anger was more an attempt to settle old scores with the administration.
“Some of the students are really emotional as they were close to Akkriti. But there are also many among this crowd who have been in the bad books of the school and are taking advantage of the situation,” she said.