Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Education has fined Merryland Kindergarten Dh5,000 for violating safety rules which led to the death of a boy on a schoolbus.

Aatish Shabin, 4, died after being left locked in the schoolbus for three hours on April 24. A statement from the ministry said a fine will be imposed on the school. Although the statement did not mention the amount of fine, Gulf News learned the amount is Dh5,000.

The ministry said parents can take legal action and seek compensation from the school and transportation company.

"I am shocked to know about the meagre fine though I'm satisfied with the administrative action taken, said Shabin Sreedharan, Aatish's father.

The school did not comment on the ministry' decision. The transportation company said its contract with the school has not been renewed, and it will expire at the end of this month.

A police official said the case has been referred to the public prosecution.

Story so far

  • April 24: Aatish Shabin dies after being left locked on the schoolbus.
  • April 26: The driver of the external transport providers for the kindergarten is arrested. The conductor absconds.
  • April 27: A medical report says Aatish did not suffocate and mentions the boy was unwell. Based on the initial police report, the prosecution grants bail to the driver.
  • April 29: The Abu Dhabi Educational Zone finds that serious lapses on the part of the school caused the death. The school did not follow rules on safety and security of the children.
  • May 10: The Ministry of Education starts a probe based on the report.
  • June 16: The Ministry of Education imposes a fine on the school.

Have you heard of a similar case involving school negligence? What was the outcome? How do you think the school should be penalised? Why?

Your comments

I cant believe it is a boys life worth only 5000 Dhs. The Driver should be Jailed for Negligence, the transport company and School License should be cancelled
Posted: June 17, 2008, 11:03

I think the fine of 5,000 Dhs, is so trivial against the negligence that caused by the kindergarten's administration. It's actually nothing compared to the disaster it caused for an innocent kid and family. It is not fair at all, and it will not urge the other schools to take serious precautions regarding this issue since the punishment is so trivial.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2008, 11:01

This clearly shows that the kindergarden has high connections in the Ministry of Education and the Hospital for reporting the boy was ill and didn't suffocate. Instead of setting and example by heavily fining the kindergarten, they showed us how corrupt this country still is and still in 3rd world.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 10:57

If you kill someone, you have to pay the blood money of AED 100,000 or 200,000 then why just AED 5000 for the boy. This is ridiculous. The school should have been fined with hefty fine so that others can learn the lesson. common we are talking about human life....is AED 5000 is the value of a person's life. What would be the feelings of that boy's parents who lost their lovely kid. I am sorry but this is unacceptable on humanitarian ground.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 10:57

I strongly blame school for this and I strongly make appeal to the government to impose huge fines and harsh punishment to the school and bus driver and conductor. So this will be a lesson to the others and they will think once before committing such blunder. My full condolence with master Astish's parent,s I know that nothing compensate their son but I pray to Allah to give them.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 10:02

Fine?! For the death of a 4 year old boy.. Am not questioning the decision of the Ministry of Education but there should be a much heavier penalty or sanction (not fine) against this school and the bus company for negligence. Someone has to really answer the negligence committed that led to the death of the boy.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 09:55

Dh5,000 only? A boy's life is only worth a fine of that tiny amount? They should cancel the kindergarten's business license. Come on, it is a human life!
Posted: June 17, 2008, 09:51

It is a really sad incident, but I do personally feel that the school should not be held fully responsible. It is the bus conductor's job to check if all the students have vacated the bus. So it is basically the mistake of the transport company and the negligence of the conductor.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2008, 09:16

The fine amount should be increased. This is a case of losing a life. The Ministry should take heavy measures to set an example.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 09:13

Penalising the culprit should not be the punishment in such cases. The license has to be cancelled for such negligence. The punishment should be such that in the future it should not be repeated by anyone. Indeed no punishment can replace the trauma the parents are going through.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 09:12

The judgment/verdict of Ministry is simply outrageous, Dhs. 5,000/- for a precious life. Ministry should have thought about the consequences of this judgment, instead of being warned about impending consequences, with this outrageous verdict no school will take care of safety and continue in indulging in scot-free attitude, after all fine for a life is AED. 5,000/-. This verdict is SIMPLY OUTREGOUS, needs review.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: June 17, 2008, 08:47

Mostly the Schools here in UAE are only concerned in earning money, they don't seem to care about the welfare of their students. A lot of accidents are happening in the premises of the Schools or with their School Bus. This is totally not acceptable. Parents should not risk enrolling their Children with the Schools who has records of these kind of accidents.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 08:37

High School Students in one of the prestigious schools in the Philippines went for a Field Trip together with their teachers. They all went to a beach.One of the students died drowning.After investigations, the teachers who went with the students in the field trip were removed from school for complete negligence+they were Administratively Charged together with the School.Certain amount was paid to the family of student who died....The school and the school's hired transportation company has complete responsibility on the safety and comfort of the children. Both must cancel Business Permits at once as penalty of negligence. Life of this child is not worth 5000dirhams
Posted: June 17, 2008, 07:30

Why the school is not responsible? The Main responsible is driver and the conducter who has to look whether the bus is empty and check before locking the bus. Now School did not loose anything but the parents of the boy lost their child. It is the responsibility of the school even the child is sick they should send the child back home with their care and responsiblity.
Posted: June 17, 2008, 07:22

Is this only what's life worth, 5000? This is an insult, but sooner or later justice will prevail by GOD.
Ms. Sevan
Posted: June 17, 2008, 05:27