Coimbatore gov’t school students, parents stage sit-in protest seeking hygienic toilets-

More than 200 students and their parents staged a sit-in protest in front of the Coimbatore Cloth Merchant Association (CCMA) government higher secondary school in Raja Street on the evening of December 18 demanding that the school administration ensure hygienic toilets by appointing cleanliness workers. Following the protest, traffic was hit for at least 30 minutes and police who came to the spot held a talk with the parents and students and the protest came to an end. 

A Class XI student who was in the protest told The New Indian Express, “More than 2,000 female students from Classes I to XII are studying here. But only four toilets for them all are not enough. Especially, students have to wait in long queues to use the toilet.” Further, she was worried that, “Due to the toilet shortage, a few students are forced to relieve themselves only after reaching home from school. Fearing this, few students do not drink water in schools. We have been facing health issues.”

Speaking to The New Indian Express, another female student said, “Toilets were not maintained well and are cleaned only once a week. As a result, we could not use it. Two days ago, a student vomited after entering the bathroom due to a pungent odour. Condemning this, we protested seeking proper toilet facilities with parents.” The toilets for the teachers are maintained well, however, the headmistress is lethargic in ensuring hygienic toilets for students, the student added.

A School Management Committee (SMC) member, on the condition of anonymity, told The New Indian Express, “Toilets have been maintained poorly for more than six months. When we raised this issue at the SMC meeting, the headmistress did not show interest in solving this issue. So, we have complained to the chief educational officer and district administration. But, steps were not taken.”

“After complaining, the headmistress did not allow us on the school campus and she treated us badly. As no steps were taken regarding this issue, the protest was held. Without taking any steps, educational officers visited the school to hold talks after the protest,” she alleged. 

Further, she said that cleanliness workers should be appointed regularly. Repeated attempts to reach the school headmistress Thilagavathi and Chief Educational Officer (CEO) R Balamurali were in vain, stated The New Indian Express report. 

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