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On June 21, a student of class 10 from Kolkata’s GD Birla School was found dead in the school washroom with her wrist slit and a plastic bag wrapped around her head.
According to the postmortem report, it was a case of suicide and she died of asphyxiation. A blood-stained blade was found at the spot.
The investigation into the death has found that the girl had become suicidal and had attempted suicide once earlier at her home due to alleged mental pressure. According to the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborty, the girl’s mother had said that it was under control after she was counselled.
A three-page long suicide note that the girl left indicates that she was under mental trauma and acute depression.
“Wherever I look… they have come for me and I must go. Now I am no longer needed. They hurt me. They want me to be hurt, be in pain…they have taken away everything I used for my survival. Everything is so foggy. Nothing seems real now. Everything is a dream…everything. Nothing stays, everything will fade,” her suicide note read.
The note further read, “They have destroyed me. They will destroy everything that is mine.”
In the end, she wrote that she was responsible for her own “physical death”.
In her note, the girl also blamed peer pressure and family pressure to excel as one of the reasons why she took her life.
“We are trying to find out who did she address in the suicide letter. Her parents are in a state of shock and we could not examine them. We will soon request them to join the investigation,” News18 quoted a senior police officer as saying.
Ever since the death, however, scores of messages made rounds on WhatsApp, allegedly accusing the school of shirking all responsibilities, and also of negligence.
“This is completely unexpected from the girl. I have seen her grow up, I never thought she would do something like this,” a senior teacher of G.D Birla Centre for Education was quoted as saying by News18.
While the school is being blamed extensively for its negligence towards students, some teachers and parents have come out and said that it is not fair to accuse the school.
“I can assure you that it is impossible for a teacher arriving in class in the seventh period to understand if someone has been missing since the sixth period,” a parent of a class 10 student from the same school said.
In an earlier instance, GD Birla came under the spotlight when two teachers allegedly sexually assaulted a four-year-old her in the school premises.
Instead of circulating WhatsApp messages and blaming the school and other parties for the young girl’s death, it is more important that we grab the crux of the situation.
The focus should be on the fact that the girl was in so much mental pain that she decided to take her own life. It is important not just for schools but for everyone around a young child to ensure that he or she is mentally healthy.
Clearly, the girl, who also mentioned in her note that she was unable to sleep for three months, was suffering from severe depression. While physical illnesses are always catered to, mental health is often overlooked.
It is important that society takes cognizance of issues such as these and give as much importance to mental health as they give to the physical well-being of a person.
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