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Strip shame in school

New Delhi, July 19: Students of a prominent Delhi school were asked to strip and undergo an examination of their “adolescent growth” without advance warning or guardians’ consent, sparking a fresh debate on sex education.

Students of Class VI and VII at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya had been called for a medical check-up earlier this week and doctors asked them to undress.

The girls and boys — most of them aged 11 or 12 — complained that their “private parts” were “measured” to check whether the “growth was natural”.

When the turn came for Class VIII students on Tuesday, several of them protested that they were “uncomfortable” about removing their clothes, and later complained to their parents.

Following the protests, students of classes IX and XII were briefed the next day about the “nature of the tests”.

The school teaches relatives of several senior politicians and bureaucrats, including the Prime Minister’s grandson, but it was not clear whether he was among those examined.

“If the students were examined in such a manner without seeking parental consent, it is a matter of concern,” Lovleen Kacker, the joint secretary in the ministry of women and child development, told The Telegraph.

Vibha Parthasarathi, who heads the Gujarat Education Society that runs the school, said she was “not aware” of the incident. “I will need to check.”

The acting principal of the school, Vijaya Subramanium, could not be reached on her phone.

K.N. Agarwal, who led the team of three male and three female doctors, said the school had been informed “well in advance about the nature of the tests”.

“They (the school authorities) knew very well that the examination was to study the adolescent growth,” he said. “Informing the parents and seeking their consent was the school’s responsibility.”

The school’s teachers said they had not been told about the nature of the tests.

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