Students of Step by Step School fall ill after lunch

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School Management tries to keep the media away; Catering firm under scanner

The Hush Post: About 20 students of a prestigious private school in Noida Sector 132, Step by Step, fell ill after eating their lunch.  Out of these students, 11 had to be admitted in three private hospitals of Noida and Delhi. Parents of the remaining students took their children to their homes.

The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon and Times of India reorted on Friday.

According to health and police officials about 20 children fell ill. A spokesperson for Jaypee Hospital, where four students had been admitted, said the students had been discharged after giving them medicines. It was suspected that more children would have fallen ill but their cases had not been reported.

The management of school called doctors from Max Hospital to the school and later rushed the students to the hospitals. The children reportedly said they had started feeling uneasy after a meal of ‘paratha and aloo subzi’, TOI report said.

The report said that Step by Step did not issue a formal statement, and the management of school refused reporters from entering the school premises. The school inform the parents by sending them emails about what had happened and what steps it was taking.

“Some of the students at our school have had mild to severe stomach ache and some have had vomiting,” one of the emails, issued from principal Mahesh Prasad’s office, said, adding the cause of the problem was “unclear”.

Another email of the school said it had suspended the services of Sodexo, catering firm. The school does not allow children to bring food from home but that rule has been temporarily withdrawn. “In view of the unfortunate incident that took place today, till the cause is ascertained, as a precautionary measure, the school requests that all parents send their children to school with food and water till further notice,” the school wrote to parents.

“The school management is not cooperating in the investigation. They have not revealed what the students had eaten during lunch,” Vedpal Singh Pundir, SHO of the Expressway police station, was quoted as saying.

“We were informed that 20 children have fallen unwell. We have sent city magistrate, food inspector to the spot. The CMO has been directed to collect food samples. We will take strict action,” District magistrate B N Singh was quoted as having said.

A food department team was stopped at the school gates for one and a half hours and could only enter after the district administration intervened, a senior official reportedly said. A police team and city magistrate Mahendra Singh also visited the Step by Step campus in the evening but waited for hours outside the gates as they were allegedly denied entry, report said.

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