Dog scare causes fall in student numbers in Budgam government school

Dog scare causes fall in student numbers in Budgam government school
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Principal says canines unleashed terror; she too faced attack

MASHKOORA KHAN

SRINAGAR: Appearing out of a maze of paddy fields, a pack of dogs arrives to hail visitors with resounding barks at Government Middle School, Bathara, in Budgam. Their presence has become a menace that has triggered a dip in student enrolment at the school.
Constructed in 2005 under the PDP-Congress government, the school was meant to bring joy to the villagers by providing education to their children. Over the years, however, residents avoid sending their wards to the school as dogs have unleashed terror there.
The school’s principal, Farzana Waheedi, told Kashmir Reader that students are afraid to come to the school because of their fear of dogs. “The condition of the school is very bad and has been so for several years. Students fear coming here as the dogs on the grounds have created a scare among them. I too was attacked by the dogs,” she said, adding that the dog menace has been brought to the notice of District Commissioner, Budgam.
The school has three blocks, with 12 classrooms, an office, kitchen and washrooms, all of which are in ruins. The classrooms are without windows panes and furniture and have damaged ceilings and doors. Currently 31 students admitted to the school are taught by seven teachers including the school principal.
“We informed the authorities several times about the dilapidated condition of the school. We also requested public health engineering department for providing us a water connection, but in vain,” the principal said.
A Class 5 student said that he had once come to school last year to find dogs already in his classroom. The dogs then attacked him.
“They bit my shoes and damaged my clothes. My screams alerted students in the next class, who rescued me. I was in trauma after the incident,” he told Kashmir Reader.
The district’s Chief Education Officer (CEO), Abdul Rouf Shahmiri, said he was aware of the issue but did not answer any questions.
He instead said that the government has dedicated this year to infrastructure building and that the education department is going to renovate schools.