The morning of 9 November was a horrific time for a 7-year-old-boy studying in one of the government schools in Thimphu. He was attacked and bitten by a pack of dogs within the school campus. The lower parts of his body are covered in bite marks and bruises from the attack.
The school management had reported the incident to the boy’s parents, who were petrified to see their son bleeding and crying in pain while standing and waiting for his parents with his teacher. Upon reaching the school, the mother had immediately washed her son’s wounds and took him to the hospital.
Although the 7-year-old boy is now in a stable condition, however, he needs to be carried to the toilet, as the bite wounds have left him temporarily immobile.
There are also deep concerns on how the school has poorly handled the boy’s condition after the multiple dog bites and bruises. It seems the boy did not receive any first aid attention or care in the school.
The father of the boy said, “It’s unfortunate that this has happened to my son, but it can be anyone tomorrow. I do not blame anyone for what has happened, but it would have been of ease if my son was given after care immediately. I am a bit disappointed.”
He said that he never thought such an incident could happen to any student within the safety of the school premise.
He had rushed to school the moment he received the call from the school, but it took some time to reach the school due to the heavy traffic. However, his wife got there before him, and he was shocked to see his son’s body covered in bites and bruises.
As per the boy, 5 dogs attacked him on that fateful morning, but he managed to escape as other students helped in chasing away the dogs.
The father said the school management could have at least inspected the wounds and taken his son to the hospital.
He agreed that no one can stop such incidences from happening, but at least the school could have given the after care as his son was way too young to tackle the situation by himself.
“At this point of time, no one will need the consent from parents after all it is something to do with someone’s life. We would happily pay for whatever is done to save my son’s life. It is painful to see my son in pain, his body is covered in bruises, scratch marks and marks of the dog bites from the incident. Though he doesn’t complain about the pain, we have to carry him to toilet,” he added.
This terrible incident has set in much depression in the family. The father said it is not only the responsibility of the parents or individuals, but is also the responsibility of the teachers and schools as they are trained in first aid.
A parent, Sonam Choden, who knows about the case shared that it is disheartening to see that the children are not even safe in schools. “We cannot blame the school management for having dogs within the school compound, but I feel that it is their sheer responsibility to take care of the children, should anything bad happen in school,” she said.
Despite several bites by a pack of dogs, the school management waited for his parents to pick him up and to take him to hospital, she said.
She said, “This is when the talk of accountability and reform comes in. If something serious has happened to the boy after the incident, who is to be blamed? Is it we, the parents, who have left our children trusting teachers or the dogs who have bitten the boy? If this is the case, I worry if any parents will want to send their children to school.”
If it was in a private school then the parents could have fought back, as they are paying for their children to attend the school, but being in government school, it is difficult to even question the school management, she further added.
She said that there should be the proper protection to the children in schools, without which it would be difficult for parents to trust the schools and teachers as a whole.
Another parent, Dawa Lham, said that it will be difficult to guard against animals entering the school compound. However, if something happens within the compound, the school management or the teachers should be the first to respond to the accident.
“Mine is not a complaint or to defame or blame anyone, but this is to help every citizen to be more responsible and provide the necessary caution,” the father said.
The family did not want to name the school as they did not want their son to be targeted in any way later.