PISR Student Dies, But Event Goes On

RIYADH: A 16-year-old Pakistani girl collapsed inside the premises of a school here on Friday evening and died on the way to a nearby hospital. Meanwhile, officials of the Pakistan International School, Riyadh are pushing back on allegations that they decided not to announce the death until after an awards banquet.

Atiya Hoshyar, a 10th grade student, collapsed in the Girls Section of the Pakistan International School, Riyadh (PISR) on Friday evening. She had come to receive an award on behalf of her elder sister.

“But the news of the death was not made public by Mamoona,” said a teacher who didn’t want to be named in the newspaper, referring to PISR Vice Principal Mamoona Ahmed. “She preferred to continue the program despite protests from some teachers.”

Mamoona was not available for comment, but Nadir Alam, PISR principal, said the school acted responsibly, even meeting with the girl’s parents on Friday night.

“The girl, in fact, was suffering from some ailments and I came to know that she also fell unconscious a few months back at the school,” said Alam.

Chaudhury Rahat Khan, secretary-general of the PISR board of directors, also rejected any allegations of negligence or mismanagement.

He told Arab News that the girl was suffering from diabetes and had low blood pressure, adding that the “girl collapsed on the gate within moments of her arrival and then was rushed by her father to Somaisi Central Hospital, where doctors declared her dead.”

The PISR has a student body of over 10,000.

Several parents and teachers are upset and believe the PISR administration should have done more to save the girl, and that they should have stopped the awards ceremony considering what had happened.

“The school officials on the stage were unmoved, while the death has shaken the entire Pakistani community to the core,” said a Pakistani woman guest, who was attending the event.

They accused some teachers of enjoying the program, the poetic recitations of the participants and also the late night dinner even after they knew about the girl’s death. The award-giving function started at 4:30 p.m. and continued until 10:30 p.m., while news of the student’s death was being circulated to some school staff around 6 p.m.

The event’s honorary guest was Nasreen Karimullah, wife of Pakistani Ambassador Shahid Karimullah. Several high-ranking staff members of the school appeared on stage after the girl’s death, according to some parents and teachers.

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