'Academically weak teenager' allegedly kills seven-year-old schoolmate to postpone exam, parent-teacher meeting

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Policemen simulate an arrest during national security day in Nice, southeastern France, October 10, 2009.
Policemen simulate an arrest during national security day in Nice, southeastern France, October 10, 2009. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

A 16-year-old student was arrested in India on Wednesday for allegedly slitting the throat of a seven-year-old schoolmate. He hoped that the murder would postpone an impending test, according to federal investigators.

The incident happened in September at a smart public school near Delhi. A bus conductor was initially detained, with police claiming he killed the child after the young student resisted a sex attack.

Now, a federal investigators spokesman said they had credible proof against the teen student, who was described as “academically weak.” It was said that he killed the younger student to postpone an examination as well as a scheduled parent-teacher meeting.

Central Bureau of Investigation spokesman RK Gaur said the teenager confessed during questioning that he wanted to shut the school to put off the test and meeting. The student would be sent to a juvenile detention centre until his trial for murder.

The teenager could not be named for legal reasons. As for the bus conductor, Gaur said he would remain in custody until cleared by a court.

Safety in schools

After making national headlines, parents have expressed concern over the safety of their kids in schools, while experts are worried about the academic pressures placed on students. Some are bothered that too much prestige is placed on academic excellence, and kids face intense pressure to get good scores on tests. Experts believe that this has aggravated stress and mental illness among teenagers, South China Morning Post reports.

India’s growing middle class has inspired the growth of public schools. The nation of 1.25 billion people has the highest rate of suicide in the world; students are particularly vulnerable.

In 2015, almost 9,000 students committed suicide, according to official figures. Health experts say several young people are having a difficult time coping with the pressure to succeed and struggle to accept failure in examinations.

In Rajasthan’s Kota, student suicides fell by 70 percent in the first 10 months of this year. The drop shown in latest police data was attributed to a raft of measures announced last year.

From January to October 2017, four students died, compared to 14 in the same period last year. “Certainly, the interventions taken by the Kota administration in 2016 proved to be a milestone in the efforts to curb student suicides in Kota,” Sujata Sriram, professor from the School of Human Ecology at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said, according to Hindustan Times.

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