I woke up to the news about some video that is going viral exposing abusive teachers and from what I saw, that wasn’t anything my eyes haven’t seen before. Not that this means I condone the behaviour by the teacher of cause.
This wasn’t new because I too went through it, we had to pull both hands towards the teacher and sometimes a couple of them at a time, it was all bad, but fortunately nothing catastrophic ever happened to me.
In 2013 however you would think that things have changed and that with times, there are much better ways of doing things, but clearly not. Instead, things are getting worse in schools.
A couple of days ago, I heard of a similar event that had taken place in the rural parts of the Eastern Cape where a teacher administered two lashes to a student. Even though it isn’t clear what the student had done, what was clear was that the incident didn’t end too well for both parties involved. As we speak, the child’s hand cannot function and is undergoing physiotherapy to try and fix it and oh, a case has been filed by the child’s family against the teacher.
You would think that is the end, no it’s not even the shocking thing compared to what I later learnt. The women who were talking about this were parents whose children attend the same school. They felt sorry for the teacher because “the punishment wasn’t even that bad”. These parents then went on and on about how they each gave the teachers permission to beat their own kids instead of having to go to the school whenever their kids misbehaved.
From there, they recounted different events where their kids were on the receiving end of the punishment, one even told of a time where her child couldn’t even sit properly because of severe pain. The child was made to lie down on the desk and was hit in the bum.
No, these parents didn’t see anything wrong with this as “we too were punished and we didn’t die. Here we are and we have made it”. In fact they even went on to comment about how hypocritical parents are because when they want to get their kids admitted, they agree to the rules set out by the school, but later have issues. Apparently in the very same school, the same principal stopped administering corporal punishment and instead made kids to do frog jumps, running around the fields and all that, but the parents complained and he went back to corporal punishment.
While I was hoping that parents don’t give teachers rights to hit their kids anymore, it is not new and is a sad as it was in my school days. The problem with that is this, these teachers end up beating these kids for nonsense. At school, kids were beaten for not wiping the chalk board, for not cleaning the classroom (as in the current case) and everything else parents didn’t send their kids to school for. It was sad to see kids cowering because they knew their parents wouldn’t have their backs if they refused punishment.
I had a parent who had our backs and the only punishment I accepted was that which I thought was fair, I wasn’t going to be punished for not cleaning a chalkboard and I wasn’t afraid to tell my teacher that he wasn’t going to have my hand. A couple of times I was chased out of the classroom for refusing punishment and I received threats from some teachers, but they soon learnt that I was my mother’s child and they were a weaker team against mine and my mother’s.
It is 2013 and if this problem is to die, we can’t look at the surface, there is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration in dealing with this and until we look deeper than the surface, cases like these will keep being the subject in the media. It takes four to twerk; the parent, child, teacher and the law. For right solutions, the moves have to be just right.
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