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Teacher assault: boy in hospital

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PN Beaten school kid79

Independent Newspaper Limited

Itumeleng Molepo, 15, of Bophelong Community Independent School who was allegedly assaulted by a school teacher in his hospital bed. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Mogomotsi Magome

A CITY pupil has been in hospital for the past five days after he was allegedly assaulted by his teacher at the Bophelong Community Independent School in Mamelodi.

The 15-year-old described from his hospital bed yesterday how he was slapped, kicked and choked by the teacher in the presence of the school principal.

The principal has admitted to seeing the incident, which apparently started when the teacher accused the boy of making a noise in class.

A disciplinary process has now been initiated by the school governing body (SGB) against the teacher, but Itumeleng Molepo’s parents are now considering laying criminal charges against him.

Itumeleng said this was the second time he had been assaulted by the same teacher, but he had not reported the first incident to his parents.

One other pupil at the school has also confirmed witnessing the incident.

The Pretoria News reported last week on a separate incident at Burger Right Primary School in Pretoria West, where a teacher allegedly beat a child repeatedly with a thick wooden object.

The teacher appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court last week on a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and was granted R1 000 bail.

The teacher said to be involved in the latest incident might also face the same fate, as Itumeleng’s parents were yesterday considering laying criminal charges against him or to take civil action against the school.

The Grade 9 pupil, who was admitted on Thursday, remains in Jacaranda Hospital for trauma treatment. Doctors told his parents yesterday that he would be discharged once they were confident he was over the trauma he has been going through since last week.

This is how Itumeleng described his ordeal: “We were combined into one class as we were writing an exam last week. He (the teacher) walked into the class and asked who was making noise.

“One of the pupils pointed at me and told him I was the one. He did not ask any questions and slapped me three times in front of the other pupils.

“He then punched me on my chest and continued to slap me. He dragged me outside the class and took me to the office.

“He continued slapping me even after the principal arrived at the office. He only stopped when the principal intervened, and then he walked out.”

Itumeleng said he was scared to go back to school as he would be in more trouble than before because his parents were now involved and the assault was public knowledge.

“The first assault was also bad, but I did not report it. But this time it was very serious because I had pains until late in the night before my parents insisted I go to hospital.”

Itumeleng said he was not looking forward to going back to school if the same teacher was still working there.

When asked about claims that part of the assault happened in his presence, principal George Makhubela admitted that he had seen the assault take place.

He is likely to be called in as a witness during the disciplinary process by the SGB.

“I cannot attest to what happened inside or outside the class, but I did see him beat the child in the administration block.

“The matter is now in the hands of the SGB, and the outcome will be communicated to us. They will decide the fate of the teacher,” Makhubela said.

Corporal punishment is not allowed at the school, Makhubela added.

This was the first incident that had been reported to him by any pupil against the teacher, he said.

Itumeleng’s father, Alfred Molepo, said he would be removing his son from the school because he did not feel it would be safe to leave him there.

“I cannot send my son to a school where I will not know whether he is safe or not. He was also wrong by not telling us when he was first attacked by this teacher, because we could have acted then.

“But we have already decided that we are removing him from there. We’ll decide whether we take further steps against the school or the teacher,” he added.

Gauteng Department of Education spokesman Charles Phahlane said school management would have to address the matter in terms of the school’s corporal punishment policy.

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