A Tongaat mother is demanding justice from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education after her 10-year-old son was allegedly assaulted by a teacher at Trubel Primary School, about three months ago.
The mother of three , who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, said the Education Department was her “last hope”. She alleged that the school management, the school governing body (SGB) and education circuit offices in Phoenix had “dismally failed” to assist her.
The mother said her son was treated by a doctor at a clinic and after being advised to lodge a complaint at the police station against the teacher, she did so on 30 May. Speaking to the Tongaat and Verulam Tabloid, the mother claimed that her son, who is in Grade 5, was “brutally assaulted” by a teacher with a plastic pipe on 29 May in full view of his classmates.
The mother said: “A boy in the same grade as my son was drawing him funny in some book, so my son got upset and pulled out the book from the drawer. My son did not realise that the book was underneath something which caused it to tear.”
She said the pupil who did the drawing reported the matter to the class teacher, alleging that the same teacher “took a plastic pipe” and hit her child.
“Since the incident, I have realised things were not really right about my child, emotionally and physically. He would go and sit in a corner and cry for nothing, hysterically. I don’t know what to do,” the mother said. She said that she called for the provincial Department of Education’s intervention to the matter, to find justice for her son. “When I contacted the school and the SGB, the only response I got was that they said it was their duty to worry about our children’s welfare. Since then no action had been taken against the teacher, instead he received a promotion,” she said.
She said that her son was not coping with his school work, because when given home tests, he was failing dismally. “This is something new. He resists going to school. My son was ambitious about his future, but he has no interest anymore. He has told me that he feels embarrassed after being assaulted by the teacher and his classmates mocked him,” she claimed. She said that she could not bare seeing her son or any other child facing this kind of torment. “Abuse is out of the question and it has to be stopped. Children need to be disciplined by teachers but not abusing them,” she said.
The school’s principal, Guru Ramcharan said: “This is an allegation and is a serious issue. I cannot comment on it.” He refused to disclose the name or contact details of the SGB chairperson. Provincial Education Department spokesperson, Kwazi Mthethwa, condemned the brutal assault towards the learner, saying that the department would conduct an investigation.
“We will not tolerate this behaviour. The schooling system has disciplinary measures in place and will use such prescripts to determine the appropriate course of this. It is my duty to ensure the safety of the children and to ensure that all of the stakeholders coexist in harmony,” he said.
He added that corporal punishment at schools was not allowed. “It was abolished in 1996 and if a teacher assaults a pupil, that teacher could lose their job,” Mthethwa added.