Ministry investigates case of child injured while being punished at private school

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By Carlena Knight

An incident which left a student of the St Michael’s Primary School bleeding and bruised after she was punished by a teacher, is being investigated by the Ministry of Education.

This was confirmed by the Director of Education Clare Browne, who spoke to Observer on Friday.

“Currently, the Ministry of Education is investigating the matter. I have called a meeting with the principal and the teacher in question, the parent and the child. That meeting is set for Monday morning,” Browne revealed.

According to the upset mother, her 12-year-old daughter returned home on Wednesday with bleeding wounds on her back and arm.

The injuries apparently sustained by the child during the beating (Photo contributed)

The mother explained that she initially thought that the sixth grader was cutting herself, but when she inquired, the child explained that an elderly teacher beat her with a belt across her back.

The child told her mother that everyone was getting ready to say their prayers before leaving school and placed their bags on their backs and fixed their desks as usual, but the teacher asked them to remove their bags.

In the child’s account of the incident, she removed her backpack but was holding her lunch bag in her hand. The teacher then sent for a belt which she used to lash the child so hard that it penetrated two layers of clothing.

“I don’t understand where she gets the strength to lick my daughter like that,” the aggrieved mother said.

As a result, the mother said she reported the matter to the police.

In 2019, the Ministry of Education released its punishment guidelines which spoke to the use of a Punishment Book that records the name of the student, the infraction by the student, the punishment administered, and the person who administered it.

As it relates to the administration of corporal punishment, the guidelines state that a principal of a primary school, or a designate, can use a leather strap no longer than 24 inches, one and a quarter inches wide and no more than a quarter inch thick to administer strokes on their buttocks.

But the student should be informed of the reason he/she is being punished and how many strokes they will receive.

Primary school students cannot receive more than four strokes, the guidelines also indicate.

Observer first learnt of the incident on Thursday evening when a relative of the student reached out and shared images of the wounds.

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