The mother of a child who was slapped by her teacher at a top Cape Town school on Wednesday said criminal charges have been laid. And it appears that the teacher, in turn, has laid a charge of her own.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed "counter-cases" of assault had been opened for investigation following the incident at Sans Souci Girls' High School on Tuesday – one on behalf of the pupil and another by the 33-year-old teacher.
No arrests have been made.
The teenager's mother, who News24 will not name to protect the minor's identity, told journalists outside the school gates on Wednesday that the "matter has been escalated", but she would not speak further of the incident recorded in a classroom on Tuesday.
A clip of the violent altercation went viral on social media.
It showed an apparent verbal quarrel over a book escalating. The pupil shoved the teacher, who retaliated by striking the teenager across the face.
Frustrated, saddened and disappointed
The woman said as a mother, she felt frustrated, saddened and disappointed.
Her daughter, she said, was a "strong girl and will get over this".
A group of pupils at the school on Wednesday staged a protest in support of the teacher. They made a poster which read: "It's not about race".
Education MEC Debbie Schafer on Wednesday said the actions of the teacher were unacceptable and that any form of corporal punishment in schools would not be tolerated.
She confirmed that an investigation into what had transpired was under way and would determine whether the pupil would, like the teacher, face disciplinary action.
Zero-tolerance stance against ill-discipline
"Through the school's code of conduct, schools should state clearly what kinds of behaviour are unacceptable. Should a learner transgress, then the school has the right to discipline the learner," Schafer said in a statement.
"The WCED (Western Cape Education Department) will support schools that ensure that the relevant disciplinary procedures are followed when it comes to any form of violence or antisocial behaviour in our schools. This is because we take a zero-tolerance stance on learners that transgress various disciplinary codes by attacking or assaulting their fellow learners or educators.
"At the same time, we ask that educators exercise control when confronted with issues of ill-discipline. It has been mentioned on many an occasion that educators feel unsure how to deal with discipline in their classroom. While there is not a 'one size fits all' approach to unruly behaviour in our schools, there are certain methods that can be adopted to deal with different circumstances."
The teacher in the video was a school governing body (SGB) appointee.
The SGB was expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss disciplinary steps.
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