Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Swaziland teacher arrested after boy, 10, beaten for defiance, needed medical treatment

A schoolteacher in Swaziland / eSwatini has been arrested after allegedly whipping a 10-year-old boy.

Corporal punishment was banned in the kingdom in 2015 but is still frequently used.

In the latest case reported, the boy from Gilgal Primary School needed treatment at a health centre. 

The teacher whipped the boy and kicked him while he was on the ground, according to a report in the Times of Swaziland. He was punished for defying the teacher, the newspaper said. He received a bruised lip, a swollen cheek and bruises on his back.

The teacher, Thulile Fortunate Mhlanga, aged 39, was charged under the Children Protection and Welfare Act.

There have been numerous reports of teachers illegally using corporal punishment. In March 2019 a 12-year-old girl at Mkhuzweni Primary School had her fingers broken when she was caned 25 times across her hand.

In November 2018 it was reported police were investigating St Theresa’s Primary School, Manzini, following an allegation that teachers whipped children to make them do better in their exams. In June 2018 teachers reportedly caned every pupil at Mbuluzi High School for poor performance. 

In August 2017 it was reported boys at Salesian High, a Catholic school, were forced to take down their trousers and underpants to allow teachers to beat them on the bare buttocks.

In May 2017 pupils at Lubombo Central Primary School in Siteki were thrashed because they did not bring enough empty milk cartons to class. 

In March 2017 children at Masundvwini Primary School boycotted classes because they lived in fear of the illegal corporal punishment they were made to suffer. Local media reported that children were hit with a stick, which in at least one case was said to have left a child ‘bleeding from the head’. 

In August 2016 an eight-year-old schoolboy at Siyendle Primary School, near Gege, was thrashed so hard in class he vomited. His teacher reportedly forced classmates to hold the boy down while he whipped him with a stick. It happened after a group of schoolboys had been inflating condoms when they were discovered by the teacher.

In June 2016 the school principal at the Herefords High School was reported to police after allegedly giving a 20-year-old female student nine strokes of the cane on the buttocks. The Swazi Observer reported at the time, ‘She was given nine strokes on the buttocks by the principal while the deputy helped her by holding the pupil’s hands as she was made to lie down.’

In September 2015 the Times reported a 17-year-old school pupil died after allegedly being beaten at school. The pupil reportedly had a seizure.

In March 2015 a primary school teacher at the Florence Christian Academy was charged with causing grievous bodily harm after allegedly giving 200 strokes of the cane to a 12-year-old pupil on her buttocks and all over her body.

In February 2015 the headteacher of Mayiwane High School Anderson Mkhonta reportedly admitted giving 15 strokes to a form 1 pupil for not wearing a neck tie properly.

In April 2015, parents reportedly complained to the Ndlalane Primary School after a teacher beat pupils for not following his instruction and shaving their hair. 

See also

Children fear beatings, miss school
Cane banned in Swazi schools
Teachers beat boys on naked buttocks

Research in Swaziland suggests spanking children is harmful and can cause mental problems

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