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MANZINI – Corporal punishment in schools has once against reared its ugly head, and this time around it is at its worst form.

As a result, police are currently investigating a case of seven St Theresa’s Primary School teachers, who allegedly administer corporal punishment to Grade VII pupils.

According to statements recorded with the police by a parent of one of the pupils, the main reason for the whipping  was to instil fear among the scholars so that they could concentrate on their external examinations and do well.

The parent said he was angered by the fact that the administering of the corporal punishment was not a mistake, but was planned as the pupils were allegedly told a day before that they would receive a thorough beating and there was no reason given to them. He alleged that on October 29, 2018, his 14-year-old daughter told him that she was afraid to go to school the following day since her teacher told them that they would receive a thorough beating the following day.


“When I asked her why they will be beaten, she said the teacher only told them that they will know tomorrow (the following day) when they raised the same question,” the livid parent alleged. He said the following morning, he had a hard time trying to persuade his daughter to go to school, by convincing her that no one would beat them for no reason. The parent said he did this because he personally did not believe that a teacher could punish a pupil for no reason.

“To my surprise, my daughter came back home at around 4:30pm and she had bruises all over her body, especially on her arms and thighs,” he said.
According to the parent, his daughter told him that a total of seven teachers, who were carrying sticks, allegedly told them to go out of their classroom when they arrived at 7am.

Afterwards, he said they called the pupils one-by-one and they allegedly beat them simultaneously, something which made it impossible for the pupils to count the number of strokes they received.

Again, the parent alleged that his daughter told him that while beating them, the teachers could accuse them of not bringing their previous tests to prepare for the examination. He also claimed that even those who had brought the tests to study on their own, were allegedly not spared.
“She said some of the teachers told them that the beating was a warm-up, which will help them excel in their examination and it will make them focus,” he alleged.

The concerned parent said he had to take his child to hospital to be given medication as she was in deep pain. He said the doctor also compiled a medical report, which he also submitted to the police when he opened the case.


However, he said his first stop was at the Manzini Regional Education Offices where he met with REO Mlimi Mamba, who said he had also received a number of calls from concerned parents about the same issue.

He said the REO called the head teacher of the school, who allegedly acknowledged the matter but said he was not aware of its gravity.
“He admitted that ‘konakele’ (it was wrong) and promised to take the matter up with the teachers,” the parent alleged.

Furthermore, the parent said the head teacher allegedly told the REO that he had already met with a number of parents about the matter and they were able to smoke the peace pipe. He alleged that the head teacher invited him to also come to the school so that they could address the issue.
“Unfortunately, I could not go to him (head teacher) because this incident was not a mistake but intentional because it was planned as they warned the pupils about what will befall them a day before,” he said.

Afterwards, the parent, who said he gathered that the school had been engaged several times over corporal punishment by relevant offices but failed to stop, then decided to report the incident to the police and further pressed charges against the seven teachers.

“Statements have already been recorded from me and my daughter. The police promised me that soon the matter will be in court,” the parent said.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed the matter. She said it was reported to the police and investigations were underway.

Meanwhile, the REO is still awaiting a full report from the school administration. REO Mamba said the matter was reported to his office about a week ago and he immediately asked the head teacher to furnish him with a report about the incident. “I am still waiting for that report,” he said.
The REO said he wanted to analyse the report first so that he could take the necessary action in addressing the matter.

Meanwhile, the St Theresa’s Primary School Head teacher Dan Dlamini said he had addressed the matter with the concerned parents and deputy REO. However, Dlamini said he could not discuss the matter with this publication before it was finalised by the relevant bodies.

He said it was not true that the pupils were beaten so that they could concentrate during their examinations. He said they could not prepare pupils for an examination by beating them, but through teaching.


However, he failed to shed light on why the pupils were punished in such a manner on the day.
This was after he claimed that they no longer used sticks to punish pupils at the school, as corporal punishment was abolished and replaced with positive discipline.

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