A local primary school in Phoenix has come under the spotlight after a parent has reported a case of corporal punishment where he claims his Grade 1 child was pinched and slapped by an educator during class examinations more than a week ago.

Speaking to The Phoenix Tabloid, the parent, who wished to remain anonymous, claims that the educator in question was brought to book on a previous corporal punishment incident which was confirmed. According to the parent, the issue emanated when his Grade 1 daughter was responding to a question from a fellow learner after which she was sighted by the educator and called out.

“The educator accused my daughter of copying and made her face the chalkboard. The next day, when a child called my daughter regarding a test paper, she did not respond but she lay her head on the desk and closed her eyes. The educator then went to my daughter and pinched her arm before slapping her twice on her face. She once again accused her of copying. She was called out by the educator and began crying to which the educator responded, ‘Good, let her cry’,” said the irate parent.

“When my child came home, we enquired about her class tests. She was upset and tightlipped and after much coaxing revealed what had transpired. That is when I contacted the school, who attempted to quash the matter. However, I registered a case at Phoenix SAPS and handed the matter over to my lawyer to pursue further,” said the angry dad.

A second parent spoke to The Phoenix Tabloid and said the educator in question also violently lashed out at his child and the matter was taken up where the educator had to pay the child’s doctor’s bills and seek anger management counselling. “In both instances with my child, the educator did not call out the other children but singled out my daughter. I reported the matter to the circuit manager VS Subrayan who met with my daughter and I on the issue. However, prior to that, being a parent I went to the school on 6 September and approached the principal. I had told her what had happened and requested to speak to the educator immediately but she refused and said she will investigate.

“She requested I must come back to the school at 2:30 that afternoon. Since then, the matter has been dragging on and I even received a home visit from a member of the school management requesting that I drop e case,” the upset dad said. The Department of Education spokesperson, Muzi Mahlambi said, “Our position regarding corporal punishment still stands; it is illegal. We will be investigating the matter further.” The principal of the school declined to comment on the issue. “I want the school to understand that they cannot play God with children’s lives. I want the educator guilty of meting out corporal punishment to be dealt with so no other child should suffer this kind of trauma,” said the aggrieved dad.

Meanwhile, KZN Premier Zikalala and KZN Education MEC Mshengu will make a groundbreaking announcement on schools safety this week. DOE spokesperson, Kwazi Mthethwa said, “The escalating levels of violence in schools is a societal matter which requires all stakeholders to play their part to create a safe schooling environment.
“In the recent spate of school attacks, some teachers, learners, and security guards have been killed on the school premises in various schools around KwaZulu-Natal. This continues to negatively affect the government’s agenda of providing access to education to the citizenry. In order to restore the safe environment that schools are supposed to provide, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal province Sihle Zikalala and the MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal Kwazi Mshengu will on Tuesday this week, launch a massive campaign on schools safety and further unveil thousands of highly trained volunteers who will guard schools in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The MEC is also expected to make a groundbreaking announcement which will impact a number of schools in the province,” said Mthethwa. “We are taking practical measures to make schools safer. We cannot stand by and watch schools being turned into war zones. As a department we will also take harsh disciplinary measures to protect our children in all places of learning,” said MEC Mshengu.