A group of small children lined up in a colourful room of a private school on Wednesday morning and waited for a burqa-clad woman to force red polio drops down their throats. This was part of the three-day anti-polio campaign, which ended on a bitter note as the administrative staff of private schools around the city complained about being harassed and subjected to aggressive behaviour.
Private schools were asked to cooperate with the government teams administering polio vaccinations to students under the age of five years or go to jail. “We were harassed by the polio teams and were forced to let them administer drops to our students,” said the principal of AMI School’s nursery branch, Nasira Faiz. “We are not the parents of these students. We cannot give permission to these teams to administer polio drops.”
“Our schools are located in safe areas. How can people barge in with guns? There was no condition in the notice that if we don’t attend, we would be arrested,” said Rabea Minai, a teacher. “We are against this aggressive attitude.”
According to the deputy commissioner, under section 186 of the Pakistan Penal Code, they have the right to take the action and arrest those who disobeyed government orders.
“Private schools say that they can’t let the children get vaccinated without the parents’ consent,” he said. “We don’t need the permission. It is the basic human right of every child under the age of five to get vaccinated.”
Source: The Express Tribune, 2nd February 2012. http://tribune.com.pk/story/330598/as-govt-teams-come-knocking-schools-face-dilemma-of-permitting-polio-vaccinations/