A King William’s Town primary school has been rocked by a corporal punishment scandal that has forced the department of education to investigate two teachers.
In one of the matters, a case of assault has been opened against a Grade 3 mathematics teacher for allegedly hitting a nine-year-old girl in her face with a book.
In another, a teacher from the same school has been accused of hitting a 11-year-old epileptic boy with an iron rod on his back, ribs and shoulders.
In the first case, according to the girl’s mother, the teacher allegedly pulled her daughter’s hair before smacking her with a soft-cover exercise book.
The mother said she opened a case of assault on the same day, May 26, at the King William’s Town police station.
King William’s Town police spokeswoman Captain Siphokazi Mawisa confirmed that a case of common assault had been opened and that police were investigating
The mother alleges her daughter’s only crime was to ask the teacher to explain a sum.
“The teacher yelled at my daughter and instructed her to sit down. After a couple of minutes she stood up and walked to her desk, pulled her hair and slammed her workbook on her face.”
The department of education is also investigating other allegations that the teacher was making the children eat hot chillies as a punishment for not performing well.
She said the incident had left her daughter terrified to go back to class.
Provincial education department spokesman Malibongwe Mtima confirmed that the teacher admitted to the task team to hitting the child.
“As the department, we acted very fast when we received the allegations and launched an investigation. The investigation is done and we are waiting for recommendations.”
Mtima said the teacher was still at the school because the department was avoiding disrupting examinations.
“Corporal punishment is a criminal offence and we would like to urge parents to open cases at the police station.”
In the second case investigated by the department, another teacher from the same school was accused of assaulting a 11-year-old epileptic pupil with an iron rod on his back, ribs and shoulders.
The incident allegedly happened in class after the boy got into a fight with his 10-year-old brother on May 10.
The mother of the boy said the school, police and department had violated her son’s human rights because nothing was done, except that the child was allegedly suspended by the school.
The mother said she reported the matter to the education department.
She said the school said the teacher “disciplined” him after the fight.
Mtima said the department’s investigation into the matter was in its final stages and it had asked the parent to be patient.
By MALIBONGWE DAYIMANI and ARETHA LINDEN – DispatchLIVE