By Kate Bih
In a somber atmosphere at the Petina Bilingual Nursery and Primary School Bamenda, grief hung heavy as the entire teaching staff dressed in mourning black.
They mourned the tragic loss of Tata Melitia, a bright Class Four C pupil, who met a devastating fate on Saturday, November 4.
She died after consuming a sachet substance alongside her classmates, four of who are still at the hospital.
“I did not have the strength to even address the pupils at the assembly today. We are still in shock,” confessed the school’s Head Teacher, Sama Clement, his voice laden with sorrow.
Determined to prevent any recurrence of this heart-wrenching tragedy, the school has swiftly enacted stringent measures.
On a fateful Tuesday morning, a united front of teachers stood at the school gate, meticulously inspecting the bags of every pupil.
“We are removing any sachet drinks and cookies,” stated one of the teachers.
Furthermore, the school sensitized parents to provide cooked food as snacks for their children, eliminating any need for items purchased at the school.
Also read: School bans sachet food after pupil’s death
“We will not even allow them in school with money because nothing is sold on campus. When they get into the campus, they only leave at the close of the day,” Mr. Sama emphasized.
While some parents vehemently contest these measures, feeling that the school authorities are being excessively strict, others applaud the school’s resolve to protect their children.
“How can they reject drinks my son has been drinking for years?” an aggrieved parent challenged the teachers as they removed sachet beverages from her son’s bag.
Despite the dissenting voices, many parents express their support for the school’s actions.
“This is a very laudable step to protect our children; I support it and hope the school remains steadfast,” said one parent.
In addition to the ban on food and drinks in sachets, some parents are advocating for the school to have a nurse on standby at the campus.
As of this Tuesday morning, two children are hospitalized, while two others are in the Intensive Care Unit.
Tata Melitia’s remains are at the morgue, awaiting a burial program.
The Petina school community is now left grappling with the tragic events that unfolded, striving to ensure the safety and well-being of their beloved pupils in the wake of this heart-wrenching incident.
Mimi Mefo Info