TOBA TEK SINGH: District Education Officer Elementary (DEO) Gulzar Ahmad Bhatti initiated an inquiry on Friday against a school headmaster and teacher for allegedly taking about 20 students of a government school to a Faisalabad clinical laboratory and obtaining their blood samples without permission from their parents.

For two weeks, the teacher allegedly offered the students of the Government Primary School, Chak 334-JB, Tehsildarwala, Gojra tehsil, chemical-laced crackers and then took them to Faisalabad for collecting their blood samples.

The DEO said he had suspended both headmaster Habibur Rehman and teacher Tasadduq Altaf from service over the incident. Both were accused of helping a PhD student of University of Agriculture Faisalabad in his research, titled ‘Quality evaluation and bio-assessment of nutrified extruded snacks’, by transporting students to Faisalabad for various blood tests, collecting their blood samples for experiments without the prior permission of the education department or parents of the children.

School headmaster, teacher ‘aided’ PhD student in his research

The suspects, who are on the run, have been directed to report to the DEO’s office and would not be posted to any school till the completion of the inquiry.

Bhatti said the crackers consumed by the students will also be tested in a government laboratory.

Parents said that their children were taken to Faisalabad in a van on Thursday and asked to come to school that day on an empty stomach. After offering the children chemical-laced crackers again, their blood samples were obtained after which two of them fainted on the spot and four others fell unconscious on the way back to Toba.

The parents, who had staged a protest demonstration outside the school on Thursday, had demanded action against both the teacher and the headmaster. Some parents claimed that they found out the two suspects were paid Rs3,000 per child by the PhD student for the experiment.

Meanwhile, Nawan Lahore police took into custody several packets of the crackers which were kept in a cupboard in the school. Police said a case against the two suspects would only be registered when the education department wrote to the police and action will be taken under the law.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2019