“Shut up, you idiot, k*****!”
This is what a Grade 2 teacher in Gauteng allegedly said to a 7-year-old girl shortly after slapping her so hard that she collided with the chalkboard.
Her father, a 29-year-old businessman who lives in the Midrand area, told News24 that he and his wife arrived home at around 18:00 last Friday.
“My daughter complained about her left ear, so we gave her painkillers like we usually do when children complain.”
On Sunday, when her condition appeared to deteriorate, her parents checked the left ear and noticed that it was a bit swollen.
‘Burst into tears’
The little girl was taken to Netcare Hospital in Waterfall.
“The doctor said the ear pain was caused by an injury and not an infection. The doctor also said the eardrum was affected.”
The father of two said he and his wife tried to speak to their daughter about what had happened, but she did not open up.
“On Monday morning, she appeared terrified when we were getting her ready for school. It got worse as we got nearer to the school. She burst into tears.
“I realised whatever was troubling her had something to do with the school.”
The man devised a plan to get his daughter comfortable and pretended to know what had happened.
“She told me she was slapped by her teacher on Friday during school hours. She said her teacher was trying to keep the class quiet and then she called her to the front of the class and then slapped her so hard that she collided with the chalkboard.”
When the little girl started crying, the teacher, whom she admired, yelled at her.
“Shut up, you idiot, k*****,” the woman apparently said.
“My daughter quoted the teacher clearly and it was the first time hearing my daughter using the k-word. I was shocked.”
Dropping his daughter off at the school, he told her not to tell the teacher that he knew what had happened.
“When I got to work, I called the principal and told him what my daughter had said and then I went to report the matter [to] the police and gave the police the medical report from the doctor.”
On Monday afternoon, shortly before school ended, the police went to the school to arrest the teacher.
The father claims that the woman told the police that she did not slap the girl hard enough to cause damage, and that she was sorry that the father found the incident to be racial.
“I said to her, whether it was racial or not, she had no right to beat up my child.
“She told me that we would meet in court,” the father claimed.
He told News24 that the principal told him the teacher had resigned prior to the incident.
The principal assured the family that he would be sending a report to the department, informing it of what had happened, the father said.
The Gauteng Department of Education on Wednesday confirmed that it was aware of the incident.
MEC Panyaza Lesufi told News24 that the teacher would be served with a notice of intention to suspend, pending an investigation into the allegations. Until the investigation is finalised, the teacher will not be reporting to the school.
He said the department had met with the [pupil’s] family, adding that the 7-year-old girl would receive counselling at home from the department’s psycho social support team.
“We condemn any form of assault of [pupils] in schools as corporal punishment is outlawed by the Constitution of the country. Educators are always urged to utilise alternative disciplinary approaches as corporal punishment is no longer acceptable.
“It is shocking that such an allegation happened at the school, where [pupils] should be protected by educators. We will take the necessary steps to correct the situation,” Lesufi said.
The [pupil’s] father said he was still in shock over the fact that his daughter had been introduced to the k-word and had already been a victim of it.
‘Save other black children’
The little girl’s mother has taken leave from work this week to look after her because she has not attended any school.
“I am worried about what the experience might do to her future. She really loved this teacher. She even adopted her accent, so you can imagine how traumatised she is by the incident.”
The father said he did not want the teacher to teach ever again.
“Let’s save other black children out there. I want her to be criminally charged for humiliating my daughter.”
Olifantsfontein police confirmed that they were investigating a case of assault.
Constable Mokete Serakwana told News24: “The case is under investigation. The investigating officer was instructed to write a warning statement and release the suspect.”