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Inquiry ordered into ‘stripping’ in school

The National Commission for Children has ordered an inquiry into the incident where Sardar Patel School students were allegedly stripped for medical examination, report HT Correspondents.
Hindustan Times | By Chetan Chauhan and Anuradha Mukherjee
UPDATED ON JUL 21, 2007 04:03 AM IST

The National Commission for Children on Friday ordered an inquiry into the incident where students of Sardar Patel School were allegedly stripped for medical examination.

Commission Chairperson Shantha Sinha said the inquiry was being conducted to find out whether the parents and children were given prior information about the medical examination. “Under the Juvenile Justice Act 2000, physical or mental suffering caused by an institution or persons is a violation. We want to find out whether students suffered because of the test,” she said.

Sandhaya Bajaj, a member of the commission, is heading the two-member inquiry committee. “There are certain protocols that the school is required to follow. The inquiry will find out whether the process was followed or not,” she said. The committee will submit its report within a week after speaking to parents, children and the school authorities. The Delhi government has also asked the school for a reply on the reported medical check-ups they organised.

Sardar Patel Vidyalaya’s officiating principal did not respond to repeated calls made by the Hindustan Times.

Paediatrics head of Noida’s Metro Hospital, Dr K.N. Aggarwal, who carried out the health check-up, said the medical examination was not mandatory. “In fact, eight students refused. We did not check them. Three of the 240 boys we checked were found to be suffering from hydrocoele hernia. This is a common ailment among boys of this age and is usually detected very late.”

“We only checked students of Classes V and VI. We had not started checking Class VIII, IX and X students as reported in some sections of the media. We have only conducted a routine medical check-up; no sex education was imparted,” said Dr Aggarwal. He added that all the boys were checked separately.

“No one was asked to strip. They just had to unbutton their pants as the doctor had to conduct the check-up. Girls were checked separately by two woman doctors who only asked them whether they were having their periods and whether they had any health complaints,” said Dr Aggarwal. He also added that the school had informed his team that information about the tests had been announced in the morning assembly and displayed on the notice board.

Dr Aggarwal said he had conducted similar health camps at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya in 1965, 1979 and 1989.

The parents the Hindustan Times spoke to expressed surprise over the matter. Vijay Mehta said her daughter, who studies in Class XII, had not undergone any check-up. “There was no compulsion to undergo the tests. Where are the parents who are outraged? These health check-ups are a routine matter. The matter is blown out of proportion,” said Mehta.

Another parent Sundeep Bhandari, however, said that the school should have taken the parents’ consent before conducting the check-up. “My son said he had information about the health check-up. The boys were told that there would be a hernia check. He said he had the option to refuse. But that is not good enough because children are not adults. They should have taken parents’ consent,” said Bhandari.

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