Anger af­ter pupils were ‘soft lashed’

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - ED­U­CA­TION RE­PORTER bhon­[email protected]­soblack­ BHONGO JACOB

A Mdantsane mother is an­gry af­ter her 17-year-old child was hit by a school gov­ern­ing body mem­ber at Ul­wazi High School.

The SGB mem­ber, who is not be­ing named to pro­tect the iden­tity of her own child at­tend­ing the same school, told the Dis­patch she did ad­min­is­ter a sin­gle “soft lash” with “a light stick” to eight chil­dren for not clean­ing a class­room. The mother, who asked not to be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of her child, told the Dis­patch that two pupils came back from school last Thurs­day with red marks on their hands.

She said the matter had been re­ported to the school prin­ci­pal No­mam­pon­domise Kosani who de­clined to take ac­tion against the SGB mem­ber.

“The prin­ci­pal is aware of this and is down­play­ing the whole thing and does not want to discuss it. She just said that I am ly­ing. I told her to in­ves­ti­gate what is hap­pen­ing and to tell SGB mem­bers to stop beat­ing kids. They do not have the right to hit our chil­dren, and they should know their limits with school dis­ci­pline.”

Ul­wazi, one of the poor­est schools in Mdantsane, has ob­tained a 100% pass rate in the last four years.

“Af­ter I re­ported the matter to the prin­ci­pal, the chil­dren came back say­ing they had been con­fronted and in­ter­ro­gated on who had re­ported this to par­ents. The chil­dren live in fear. We took our kids there know­ing that it’s a strict school but the SGB mem­bers have been tak­ing it to an­other level.”

How­ever, Kosani re­futed the al­le­ga­tions. “There is no such thing hap­pen­ing in our school. If any­one knows about this then they must come to me so I can fol­low up on this. I want to hear what par­ents have to say be­cause pupils open up to their par­ents some­times.”

How­ever, she later con­tra­dicted her­self, say­ing: “I called the chil­dren and asked them about this. One of the pupils told me that the SGB mem­ber hit them for not sweep­ing the class. And each one re­ceived one lash. We have 1,286 chil­dren here so many things hap­pen. I am not try­ing to hide this, but some­one is just try­ing to dis­credit the school.”

The SGB mem­ber said she gave the pupils one “soft lash I also broke the rules by not re­port­ing them to the prin­ci­pal. I gave them one lash each with a small stick. I was just play­ing with them. It was not a pun­ish­ment, it was noth­ing se­ri­ous”.

She said: “I know I do not have the right to hit any­one’s child. I have been through work­shops, this is my sec­ond term in the SGB, I know very well what to do.”

Ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Mal­i­bongwe Mtima said: “We will in­ves­ti­gate. SGB are par­ents who are gov­erned by law and they can’t just do as they please. Cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment is not al­lowed in South Africa.”

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