The head teacher at a Catholic school in Swaziland forces boys to lower their trousers so he can beat them on their bare buttocks.
This is the latest example of child abuse at schools to emerge from the kingdom where children, girls as well as boys, are regularly flogged, often ritually, as punishment.
The latest case happened at Salesian High School, Manzini.
Outraged parents have reported head teacher Petross Horton to the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA).
One parent of a pupil at the all-boys’ school told the Times of Swaziland newspaper, ‘My child said the head teacher forced him to lower his trousers and them battered his bare buttocks with a stick so big it was like a plank.’
Parents have described the bare-bottomed beatings as, ‘indecent harassment and brutality’.
Horton told the newspaper on ‘rare occasions’ he had to force boys to lower their trousers so he could punish them on the flesh. He said he had to deal with cases of smoking and absconding of classes.
Although corporal punishment of children is legal in Swaziland, there are rules about how it can be administered, which do not include floggings on the bare.
Teachers across Swaziland regularly ignore the regulations and abuse schoolchildren.
In 2012, Save the Children Swaziland condemned teachers at Lusoti Primary for beating all the children at the school after one pupil made a noise in assembly.
In October 2011, the same group told the United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review held in Geneva that corporal punishment in Swazi schools was out of control. It highlighted Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland where it said pupils were ‘tortured’ in the name of punishment. It said, ‘Teachers can administer as many strokes [of the cane] as they desire, much against the limit stipulated in the regulations from the Ministry of Education.’
In a separate case, girls at Mpofu High School were flogged by teachers on their bare flesh and if they resisted they were chained down so the beating could continue. The girls reported they received up to 40 strokes at a time.
In another case, a 10-year-old girl at kaLanga Nazarene Primary school was blinded for life in her left eye after a splinter from a teacher’s stick flew and struck it during punishment. And she was not the child being punished. She was injured when her teacher was hitting another pupil, with a stick which broke.
Children at Emtfonjeni High School were whipped with up to 10 strokes of a stick, because their school fees have not been paid. A majority of the pupils at the school are orphaned and depend on government to pay for their fees.
A pupil in Swaziland was thrashed so hard that he later collapsed unconscious and had to be rushed to a clinic. Six pupils at Mafucula High school were thrashed with 20 strokes of a ‘small log’ because they were singing in class. It was reported that the boy who became unconscious was not one of those misbehaving, but he was flogged nonetheless.
The principal at Elangeni High, even publicly flogs adults who date pupils at his school. The men are forced to attend in front of the entire school, lie down on a bench and receive a whipping. The girls are also flogged.
SWAZI SCHOOL ‘TORTURES’ STUDENTS
CHILDREN CHAINED AND FLOGGED BARE
PROBE VICIOUS SCHOOL BEATINGS
SCHOOL FLOGGINGS OUT OF CONTROL
SCHOOL HEAD PUBLICLY FLOGS ADULTS