Habibullah Ismail, a Grade 7 student of Metropolis Academy Boys School in Block 17 of Gulberg, Karachi, fell to his death on Monday, October 8, 2018 after a mysterious fall from the third floor of his school building.
According to police, the 11-year-old boy, who was a resident of Block 16, F.B. Area allegedly suffered from diabetes and bouts of epilepsy. The police reports concluded that he had committed suicide by intentionally jumping off the building. They said that their conclusion was based on the student’s medical reports which had been submitted to the school by his parents and the CCTV footage obtained from the school.
The boy was immediately taken to Ziauddin Hospital in North Nazimabad but he succumbed to his injuries during treatment. Samanabad SHO, Muhammad Iftikhar Ahmed, told the media that the CCTV footage from the school’s cameras showed that the student had reached the school premises on the ill-fated day between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. by the school van as usual. He had left his schoolbag in the classroom, gone up to the third floor and jumped off the building. As the rest of the students gathered for the morning assembly, they heard somebody screaming.
According to the SHO, members of the school administration went outside to see what had happened and found the boy lying on the ground. They immediately took him to a hospital nearby but the staff refused to admit him due to the seriousness of the case. He was then taken to Ziauddin Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries during treatment.
The police reported that the CCTV footage showed the boy getting entangled in electric wires as he fell towards the ground. As a result of being entangled in the wires, both his arms were badly burnt. His fall resulted in serious head injuries, which proved to be fatal.
The SHO added that the police had thoroughly examined the CCTV footage, the school’s rooftop and premises and were also interrogating the school’s management regarding the incident. He said that the parapet, which stands at five-feet, suggests that the child could not have been pushed from behind.
According to him, it seemed like a clear-cut matter of a diabetic student taking his life as a result of being unable to cope with his disease. However, he emphasized that action would be taken against the school management if they were found to be negligent. He also said that a case would be registered if the parents requested to do so.
Ahmed said that the boy’s parents had confirmed that the child was diabetic and had even submitted a medical report at the school earlier, which is now in police possession. According to the report, the child was diabetic and would often fall unconscious in school. He stated that the student had come to school with the intention to end his life that day.
The boy’s body was handed over to the parents after they refused a post-mortem. The school administration and the victim’s parents refused to comment on the incident. All branches of the school were closed on Tuesday following the incident.
However, soon after the incident people took to social media to criticise the education system in Pakistan which often proves to be too stressful for students, resulting in such incidents.
An ex-student of the Metropolis Education System came forward with her agonizing experience at the school and how she was not allowed by the administration to give her Board exams:
While others recounted incidents from their own childhood when they felt pressured by their school and parents and urged parents, both fathers and mothers, to change their ways and work towards raising wholesome, mentally healthy children:
Still others spoke about the negligence of the school – that the staff should have taken extra care of the child if they knew that he had medical issues and wondered how the student even made it to the rooftop without anyone noticing:
And some criticized people for entering into social media debates and criticism without giving a thought to the agony the child’s poor parents must be going through:
May the poor soul rest in peace and may his parents be granted patience to bear this sudden and irreplaceable loss. We hope further investigations are carried out into the matter so that incidents like these can be avoided in the future.