From corporal to incorporeal discipline

2014-08-19 00:00

A TEACHER alleged to be using corporal punishment is accused of sprinkling pupils with holy water in class to stop them from reporting her activities.

The woman, from a Mafakathini high school, threatened to commit suicide if her pupils did not stop telling on her. A single mother, who took both her children out of the school, told The Witness that the Grade 8 teacher came to class with a bowl with liquid in it. “In front of the class she said a prayer that God must bless the water so that those children who go home and tell their parents about her must stop, and that those who make a noise in class must stop.

“She then sprinkled water over the whole class. When she came to my daughter, she scooped all the water out of the bowl and poured it over her head, and the water ran down the collar,” said the mother, who cannot be named to protect the identities of her children.

The mother phoned the headmistress, who promised to investigate the matter. The mother says the teacher told the class that “If she hangs herself, it would be because of this child, pointing at my daughter”.

“The teacher then asked the class to choose between her and my daughter, because one of them had to leave the school. She threatened that if they chose the learner over her, she would hang herself.”

The annoyed mother said she could not allow such physical and emotional abuse of her children.

“I believe the headmistress has enough evidence that this teacher uses corporal punishment. The problem is that there was no disciplinary inquiry from the Department of Education after I reported the first incident.

“The teacher is putting the education and wellbeing of a large number of children at risk, and she should be removed from her position for her behaviour,” said the mother, adding that the teacher had slapped her pupils.

She is looking for a new school for her children. Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said they are investigating the incident.

“It is not acceptable for any teacher to do that. The district is looking seriously at the matter,” he said.

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