Chennai: An LKG student at Vel's Vidyashram in Pallavaram died after a banana, which he consumed during snack time at school, choked his throat, on Monday.
While police said that the fruit choked the boy's throat, his relatives alleged negligence by school authorities.
Police said, three-and-a-half-year-old Harish Sainathan, the only child of a couple from Ambal Nagar, Keelkatalai, was eating a banana which he had brought from home, during snack time at 10.30 am, when he suddenly had hiccups and was panting for breath.
A school 'ayah' along with the boy's class teacher Easwari and physical trainer Chandru, took the boy to a nearby private hospital, where he was declared dead, police said.
The school authorities then informed the boy's parents, Krishnakumar (33), manager of human resources department in a software company at Perungudi, and his wife Bhagyalakshmi.
Police said that the boy had consumed a banana, a piece of which had choked his throat, and he had fallen unconscious when he was taken to the hospital.
Harish, who was dropped by his father in school around 8.30 am, had eaten chocolate as one of his classmates had celebrated birthday, after which the ayah had opened his snack box containing banana and biscuits he had brought from home during snack time, police said.
"There were 40 children in the class and the ayah had opened the boxes of all the students and suddenly noticed the boy getting hiccups," a police official said.
" This shows that the ayahs are not skilled enough to handle kids in such a situation," added the official.
The boy's relatives, who were at the Chrompet Government General Hospital, where Harish's body was sent for post-mortem, alleged that it was negligence on the part of the school and that they could have given first aid to save the boy.
"They could have just lifted the boy upside down and patted on his back to get the food particle out of his throat," said a relative.
Members of the Parent-Teachers Association also alleged that the boy died because of the school staffs' negligence and that the school had not paid any heed to their long time request of setting up a clinic or a first aid centre.
"There are 4,000 students in the school and there is also a college belonging to the same group nearby. We made a request long back to set up a clinic, but the school never bothered."
"Earlier, a second standard student suffered from neuro problems after a portion of the ceiling fell on him in the class. This time, the authorities wanted to save their skin and removed the boy's uniform before bringing him to the hospital. We are all distressed over the boy's death," said Jaikumar, president of the association.
V Venkatachalam, Dean, Vel's Group of Institutions said, "LKG students have school time from 8.30 am to 12.15 pm and have snack time at 10.30 am, during which they have snacks brought from home. It was not negligence on our part. The boy was foaming in the mouth and teachers thought he had suffered a seizure and took him to the hospital."
A case has been registered by the Pallavaram police.