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Cape Town - He pulls her by the hair, roughly throws her on the floor then slaps and kicks her.
The girl tries to fight back, but the enraged teacher overpowers her, hitting her continuously with open hands while the girl’s classmates try to pull teacher and pupil apart.
This is the video clip posted on Youtube which depicts a male teacher at Hoërskool Patriot in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, assaulting a Grade 9 pupil in full view of other pupils in the classroom. The incident happened last Friday.
The two wrestle on the ground with the girl trying to fight back until fellow classmates pull them apart.
While the teacher has since been suspended, some pupils - commenting on Facebook - believe the assaulted girl had “provoked the teacher”.
An older woman, who appears to be a teacher at the school, also commented on the Facebook post, cautioning the pupils to first look at both sides of the story before taking sides.
This was in relation to some posts by pupils who said the teacher mentioned was known for contravening Section 10 of the SA Schools Act 84 of 1996. The act stipulates that “no person may administer corporal punishment at a school to a learner”.
But a pupil who witnessed the incident indicated that the teacher had lost his cool after the pupil refused to leave the classroom and verbally abused the teacher.
Responding to posts by her pupils, a teacher whose identity is known to The Star wrote: “At least some people realise that there is more than one side to this story. Thnx (sic) guys for being such special Patties. Not saying it was right, just saying find out what the whole story is and then decide. It could have happened to any one of the teachers. We suffer the same provocation daily.”
The teacher could not be reached for comment and attempts to interview the assaulted girl and her family failed, with a relative who had agreed to talk to The Star switching off her phone by late on Thursday.
Mpumalanga Department of Education spokesman Jasper Zwane confirmed that the teacher has been suspended pending an investigation.
“The incident happened on Friday. We have suspended the teacher and we are currently providing counselling to the learners concerned.
“We want to indicate to the public that corporal punishment is prohibited from our schools. We condemn the incident in the strongest possible terms,” Zwane said.
Also condemning the incident was Equal Education, an organisation that advocates for quality and equality in the education system.
“Corporal punishment at schools is unconstitutional and illegal in South Africa and constitutes a criminal offence. It is imperative that schools are places of safety for learners. The Department of Basic Education must conduct an urgent and thorough investigation. A criminal charge of assault must be laid against the teacher in addition to his dismissal,” said organisation chairperson Yoliswa Dwane.
The eMalahleni incident comes just two months after a teacher was fired for beating a pupil with a broomstick for missing school. In that incident, the child died eight days later from his injuries, said Zwane.