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MAVALELA – Did a senior teacher of Mavalela Primary force parents to bear the sins of their children?

That is probably the question that was on everybody’s mind following startling revelations made by a group of women at a community meeting at Mavalela on Saturday.

Mavalela is a tiny rural community located on the foot of the Lubombo Mountains near the agricultural town of Big Bend, south east of the country.
The women alleged during the meeting that they were forced by the school’s administration to take punishment on behalf of their children.

One of the women told the gathering that the senior teacher threatened to expel her children from the school if she declined to take the punishment.


She said this allegedly happened on a day some pupils were to receive punishment for absenteeism.
“The pupils had finished writing their exams and then decided not to report for school. The school’s administration saw this as a violation of the school rules and she ruled that the pupils would be punished when they return to collect their academic reports,” said the woman.

She told the meeting that it was an ‘open day’ and parents had come to collect academic progress reports, when the teacher administered corporal punishment to those pupils who had absented themselves.

However, for those pupils who had not come to school on that day, the teacher allegedly forced parents to take the punishment of their behalf.
“We were told that if we did not take the punishment on behalf of our children, they would be expelled from the school. We didn’t want this to happen hence we chose to take the punishment,” alleged the woman.

Mavalela Community Headman (Indvuna) Mfanasibili Nhlabatsi asked how many parents were beaten and the response was that there were ‘many’.
“Let me start by stating that I was not one of those who were beaten but I saw several women being beaten on the hand for the sins of their children. I was there and I can testify to this,” said a young woman during the meeting.

Some of the women, who were allegedly beaten, later told this reporter that they never reported the incident to the police because they did not consider it to be a serious assault case that could be taken seriously by authorities.

“I had gone to participate in a building project that was taking place at the school and then I saw parents queuing at the school’s administration block for their children’s academic reports. When I got there, the teacher (allegedly) dragged me and beat me five times. She said two of my children had absented themselves,” said an elderly woman after the meeting. She added that she did not feel embarrassed by the incident at the time as there were other women who were also beaten.


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