Beaten child: 'Boys like playing rough'

Durban - The principal of a school where a Grade 1 pupil was beaten by his classmates says the incident happened because “boys like playing rough”.

The classmates assaulted the boy so badly that he landed up in hospital with possible injuries to his kidney, liver and spine.

His 75-year-old grandmother said she was told about the assault, which happened two weeks ago, by one of the other pupils in his class.

“I’m told by another girl that one of the boys stood on top of the desk and then jumped over him [in a] wrestling style.”

The Qedizaba Primary School principal, who declined to give her name, said she visited the pupil in hospital and she found him playing.

“He is doing alright.”

Report sent to dept

When asked how the incident had happened, she said: “You know how boys like playing rough and the other one kicked him.”

She would not go into details, but said the school had sent a report to the department of education and was awaiting a response.

The grandmother told The Witness how her grandson came home from school one day and told her that boys from his class had hit him and that he no longer wanted to go to school.

“They kicked him in the lower abdomen. He was even too weak to walk and struggling to pass urine and was vomiting. When I asked him where the teacher was, he said, ‘Gogo, the teacher was not in class’.”

The grandmother said she had rubbed his body to soothe the pain.

“You couldn’t touch him because his body was sore and his voice was hoarse.”

Lunchbox stolen

He skipped school for days before they took him to hospital because he was not getting well.

The grandmother said this was not the first such incident. Her grandson had been beaten at school before and his lunchbox stolen.

“When he told me that the other kids were hitting him and didn’t want to go to school I used to think that he was just lazy and afraid of school.”

The grandmother said the boy doesn’t have a mother.

‘We need to show these kids the way’

She said she was not considering bringing charges, but wanted to talk to the parents whose children were involved in the beating.

“These are kids; we just need to show them the way.”

She said she looked after another grandson, who is 10.

Attempts to get the department to comment were fruitless.

Speaking at the launch of the pupil admission campaign on Tuesday, the MEC for Education, Senzo Mchunu, said violence in schools was a growing trend that had the government “worried”.

“In the first three months we lost no less than five children in school yards through stabbing … by another child.”
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