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SEA student found hanging

By RACHAEL ESPINET Friday, May 9 2014

HOURS before he was supposed to sit the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam at the Chanka Maharaj El Socorro SDMS Primary School, Devindra Boodoo, 13, was found hanging in the bathroom of the family’s Sadhoo Trace, El Socorro home on Wednesday evening.

Devindra’s 11-year-old sister Nirmala — who was also supposed to sit the SEA exam yesterday — was the one who discovered his body in the bathroom. The Education Ministry has granted Nirmala permission to sit the exam at a later date, to give her time to grieve and come to terms with her brother’s death.

At the family home yesterday, relatives including Devindra grandparents, father, siblings (including two brothers and Nirmala) and others were consoling each other and reliving happier times spent with Devindra.

Grandmother Sumatti Boodoo said she could not understand why Devindra would want to take his own life as he was being “normal” when he and his sister came home from school at 1pm on Wednesday. Boodoo said Devindra ate some food and interacted casually with his family.

“His sister and I were relaxing when he went upstairs to rest. We said let him rest because of the big exam tomorrow,” Boodoo said. After his nap, Devindra spent some time with another relative. Then he went downstairs walking past his grandfather Mani Boodoo who thought the youngster was going to use the bathroom.

At 4.30 pm, when relatives realised Devindra was nowhere to be found, they searched different areas of the house for him. When he still could not be found, relatives thought he had gone to lime next door by a friend. It was then that Nirmala decided to check the bathroom and found the door locked. Peeping through the keyhole, she spotted him hanging from a length of rope.

Her screams caused grandfather Mani Boodoo to rush to the bathroom. “He hanged himself with a rope,” Boodoo said. “When I broke down the door and saw him hanging there, I was hoping there was still life in him. But when I cut him down, I knew he was gone. I started to bawl,” Boodoo said. Other relatives rushed to the bathroom and on seeing the boy’s body, they too began to scream and cry.

Yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, Devindra’s mother Reena Boodoo was inconsolable. His father Eishur Boodoo remained at home with his three other children. Relatives do not know what prompted the youngster to take his own life as he did not show signs of depression and left no suicide note.

“He was a happy boy. He had a lot of friends at school. When I picked him up from school everyday, he would wave to his friends. He was happy,” grandfather Boodoo said.

Grandmother Boodoo said while Devindra had struggled at times with his class work, he had shown marked improvements in the run up to the exam.

She said Devindra had done well in his SEA mock exams and was confident he would have aced his SEA exam. For the Boodoo family, this is not the first time they have had to deal with tragedy. Four years ago, Devindra’s parents lost their 20-month-old daughter under tragic circumstances.

At 2 pm yesterday, counsellors from the Education Ministry’s Student Support Services visited the family’s home to speak to grieving relatives and help them come to terms with the tragedy.

A source close to the family told Newsday Devindra was under “extreme pressure” to pass for a “good” school and had been kept back for an extra year in a lower standard to give him time to improve his grades before sitting the SEA exam. His first choice school was Vishnu Boys’ Hindu College.

Counsellors also visited Devindra’s school yesterday from as early as 7 am to be on hand to assist any student to deal with Devindra’s death. However, the students who were aware of the suicide, appeared to be in jovial spirits after completing the exam.

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