Local teacher ‘hit pupil (8) with plank’

A Grade 3 pupil was allegedly struck by her teacher with a plank.
A Grade 3 pupil was allegedly struck by her teacher with a plank.

A Copesville mother is livid after her eight-year-old daughter was allegedly physically assaulted by her Grade 3 teacher at the Pietermaritzburg school she attends.

The mother, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of her child, told The Witness that her child came back from school last Monday with huge red marks on her upper left arm.

“She came back crying and told us that her teacher hit her with a plank because she had forgotten her communication book. She said the teacher first hit her on her head with a ruler after realising that she did not have her book.

“She then told the child to come to her desk with her bag and after emptying the bag, the teacher took a plank and hit her on her arm several times.

“When my daughter started crying, she made her stand in front of the class and instructed the other pupils to laugh at her because she was crying. She traumatised my child,” said the woman.

The mother said she took her child to the doctor and was advised to open a case with the police. The following day the mother reported the matter to the principal. “The principal seemed sympathetic and instructed the teacher to leave the school premises immediately,” she said.

The woman said this was the third time that her daughter has accused her class teacher of assaulting her.

“At the beginning of the year, I was called by the school and told to come fetch my child because she was having a panic attack and wouldn’t stop crying. When I got there, my daughter told me that her teacher was holding her by her shoulders and shook her until she became numb. I confronted the teacher, but she denied it so I just dismissed it.

“A few weeks ago, my daughter said the same teacher had hit her with a ruler after another child took her pen. I also dismissed that,” said the mother.

She said she didn’t want the teacher to lose her job but wants to ensure that she is punished for assaulting her child.

“As adults I know we all have that urge to smack children now and again but what that teacher did to my child is unacceptable and should not go unpunished,” said the mother.

When The Witness contacted the school last Friday, the principal said he was not aware of the incident and that the teacher was on sick leave for the whole of last week.

On Monday, the school confirmed that the matter has been reported to the Education Department.

Ajay Boodhoo, from the school’s governing body, said he was not sure if the teacher was still at the school because he was still waiting for a report on the incident from the school.

Mountain Rise police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joshua Maistry confirmed that police were investigating a common assault case.

Muzi Mahlambi, spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, told The Witness that corporal punishment is not allowed at schools.

“Anyone that administers corporal punishment commits a crime. We note that the parent has opened a case against the teacher, and we are also going to institute our own internal investigation. If the teacher is found guilty, we are going to then administer disciplinary action against her,” said Mahlambi.

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