Durban, June 6 (IANS) An Indian-origin woman in South Africa has alleged that her seven-year-old son has been subjected to corporal punishment in school.
The woman of Katlehorn in the South African province of Gauteng said that, though she was not aware how many times her son, a grade one pupil, has been hit by teachers in Palmridge Combined School, she was aware of at least two occasions – in April this year and then June 4 – when he had complained about it at home, the Independent Online reported Thursday.
The real names of both the mother and son have been suppressed in the report and replaced by other names.
The mother said that, in April, her son had complained that he was hit on the back with a pipe, and when she checked, she saw a bruise mark.
“I immediately went to the police station to open a docket,” she was quoted as saying.
“I was given a form to fill in by a doctor, and this was done at Natalspruit Hospital (in Katlehorn).”
Police confirmed that a case of assault has been opened.
The woman said that when she went to the school, the teacher concerned said that she had hit the student in a “fit of anger” as he had taken another student’s scissors.
“I was very cross when she said that. Who knows what she’ll do to my child the next time she’s in a ‘fit of anger’,” the Indian-origin woman said.
Though a head of department in the school apologised to her for the incident and requested her to withdraw the police case, she said that she would not do so as another parent, whose son studies in the same school, had said that her son had told her the victim had been subjected to corporal punishment several times.
Though the victim’s mother wrote to the school and the district seeking a probe into the matter, she did not receive any feedback.
The student again complained at home June 4 that he was hit on his back by another teacher for scribbling something on the floor with a crayon.
“I don’t know what to do any more. I’m worried about my son’s safety… He’s terrified to go to school,” the mother was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Gauteng education department spokesman Charles Phahlane said the department would investigate the matter as corporal punishment is outlawed in schools.
“We wish to remind educators that they will face disciplinary action if they continue to administer corporal punishment,” he said, according to the report.