Dad sees pupil head-butted

2012-06-06 00:00

THE foster parent of a Grade 5 pupil at Woodlands Primary School has opened an assault charge against a teacher.

The parent caught the teacher red-handed last week as he pulled the 10-year-old’s jersey and head-butted him.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the case was being investigated and no arrests had been made.

“A child who loved maths now hates it because of this teacher,” the parent said.

He told The Witness that he went to the school to fetch his child for an appointment with a social worker and had a meeting with the school principal.

“When I was done with the principal, he gave me the go-ahead to fetch [the child] from the classroom, but I was taken aback by what I saw as I walked in the classroom,” he said.

He said the teacher was yelling and using vulgar words. The parent stepped into the midst of the commotion.

“He was hitting the child. But he didn’t see me because his back was towards the chalkboard. He was pulling him with his jersey and head-butting him. When he was about to strike him across the face, I said ‘Don’t you dare’.” The teacher then let go.

“The child was crying silently. Tears were streaming from his face,” he added.

The parent said the principal told him the pupil had torn a page from his maths workbook.

“It was an inappropriate way for a teacher to deal with the problem,” said the father.

All the other children were watching in silence, he added.

He told The Witness his child was now reluctant to go to school.

“At home he’s fine, but when it’s time to go to school he’s aggressive. Why?”

In March, after the 10-year-old had choked another pupil while apparently playing, the school issued a written warning against him and made him sign without the parent’s consent.

“I wasn’t there when the warning was executed. I feel that as a minor his rights were not protected.”

He said he was considering finding another school for the child next year. He is also seeking legal action.

The principal referred The Witness to the Education Department for comment.

Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said: “We take these allegations very seriously and we’re going to investigate and take action as informed by the findings of our investigation.”

National Association of School Governing Bodies chairperson Reginald Chiliza condemned the teacher’s reported act and called for his immediate suspension while the matter was being investigated.

Chiliza said no child should be victimised, “no matter what the offence committed”. She said the teacher’s reported act was cruel and that if found guilty “this teacher doesn’t deserve to stand in any classroom: he must be arrested”.

The association said it would give this parent support and will take the matter up with the department.

Any form of corporal punishment is illegal at schools.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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