Komi Criminal Investigation Department instituted criminal proceedings after pupils of the Pazhga boarding school suffered burns during cutting the hogweed.
Earlier, the Investigative Committee had already initiated investigation and found signs of a crime under part 1 of Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code ('Excess of official authority') under special control of the apparatus of the Investigative Committee of Russia.
The boarding school teacher Natalia Proshchenko told the newspaper 'Tribuna' that on 14, 15 and 17 of July the children were sent to the labor landing for cutting hogweed. The senior children were given shovels, but no means of protection and workwear. As a result, five pupils suffered burns.
'Three of my group got burns,' Proshchenko said. 'Yes, the teachers were indignant, but quietly: no one wanted to conflict with the administration, they were afraid of losing their job. Obstinate people are usually fired. The school is correctional, our children are 'special', and many have a serious diagnosis so it is easy to persuade them, to change their minds.'
The Komi Ministry of Education, Science and Youth Policy issued a letter, denying that children suffered burns when cutting hogweed. An interdepartmental group of representatives of the Ministry of Education, the republican prosecutor's office and the commission for minors, who visited orphanage, found that the children suffered burns allegedly because of negligence: 'One of the guys decided to shorten the path and went through the hogweed; someone played, slipped and fell into the hogweed.'
Sosnowsky's hogweed is widespread in Komi, it is known for its toxicity. The fruits and leaves of the hogweed are rich in essential oils containing furanocoumarins, which increase sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation and can lead to severe burns. The weather in Pazhga was hot and sunny.
Elena Solovyova, «7x7»