Mitchells Plain mom speaks out about alleged corporal punishment at school

Cornflower Primary School where the teacher is employed. Picture: File

Cornflower Primary School where the teacher is employed. Picture: File

Published Feb 11, 2024


Cape Town - A Mitchells Plain mother has spoken up about alleged corporal punishment at Cornflower Primary School in the hope that other children will be saved from the same fate as her daughter.

The woman, who may not be named to protect her daughter, said she was at her wits’ end. She recently discovered her daughter, who is in Grade 4, was allegedly hit her over the knuckles with a ruler by her teacher because she had made a mistake in her workbook.

At the school, others have corroborated what happened during class.

“On the first and second day of school, when I asked my daughter how school was, she would say that she was not comfortable in the class because the teacher would swear in class when she got mad.

“I did not feel the need to approach the school when I heard this because, as parents, we also understand that sometimes children can be naughty.

“But last week, I lost it, when I found my daughter crying in the bathroom with her hand under the tap,” the woman said.

Her daughter then told her what had happened. “She wrote in the wrong column in her book so the teacher hit her over her hands with a ruler. She cried and didn’t want to go back to school, and this upset me even further because my daughter (gets 7s).

“I wasn’t going to let a teacher be the reason her marks go down or her not working hard any more,” she said.

The women sent an email to the school and had a meeting at the school.

“The meeting didn’t go too well, because they were more fixated on the fact that this is a young teacher and she is still learning. I and my husband asked her if corporal punishment is allowed, she said no.

“They asked us to give her a chance, yet she still went on to question my child in the class, she even made a remark that she would not say who complained because otherwise she was going to cry again.

“This was her showing no remorse,” the mother said.

““I am all for discipline, but hitting my child?

“We requested for her to move to another classroom.

“They did, but up until now, we did not hear anything else, which is very disappointing because I am a firm believer that a teacher has a very big impact on a child’s future, so she needs to also learn her lesson,” the mother said.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Millicent Merton said the department was aware of a complaint of corporal punishment made against a teacher employed by the governing body at the school.

“The governing body will have a disciplinary meeting later this week. The principal explained the disciplinary process to the parent and has offered counselling to the parent for the child,” Merton said.

She said the WCED viewed allegations of corporal punishment in a serious light.

“We urge anyone with knowledge of such transgressions to report it. Corporal punishment is defined in the Abuse No More protocol as: “Any deliberate act against a child that inflicts pain or physical discomfort used to punish or contain him/her. This includes, but is not limited to, spanking, slapping, pinching, paddling or hitting a child with a hand or with an object.” Merton said.

She encouraged learners to report any abuse so it could be investigated and action taken if warranted.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach against abuse. Our Safe Schools hotline – 0800 454647 – is available for any learner wanting to report abuse.

“Schools have also been trained on how to handle abuse cases, and reporting is key,” Merton said.

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