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Teacher ‘stabs’ pupil with pencil in the head

By Mncedisi Buhali

BULAWAYO – A Grade One pupil is lucky to be alive after staying for two months with a piece of pencil in his head which broke off when he was allegedly stabbed by his teacher at Hugh Beadle Primary School in Bulawayo.

Teacher ‘stabs’ pupil with pencil in the head
Teacher ‘stabs’ pupil with pencil in the head

The incident reportedly took place in front of the whole class on 12 March, when Mrs Sibongile Nyathi allegedly stabbed the six-year-old boy for failing to space words in sentences using his finger.

Surgeons at United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital failed to detect that the pencil had broken off inside the boy’s head until the piece came out of the wound which was not healing on its own two months later.

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Mrs Nyathi, who was initially set to appear before a Bulawayo magistrate to answer to a charge of ill-treatment, neglect and violence against children, will soon be in court facing a more serious charge after prosecutors said the police had given her a lenient charge.

The prosecutors also said the matter still needed further investigation, as the comments from the doctors were missing from the docket.

Police spokesperson for Bulawayo metropolitan province Inspector Precious Simango said she would not comment on the issue because it was no longer within police jurisdiction.

“The matter has gone to court, although they sent it back to the police. Because it reached there once, it therefore disqualifies it to be still in our jurisdiction,” she said.

Narrating the nightmare that befell her family, the boy’s mother said on 12 March, she was called by Mrs Nyathi, who informed her that her son had been injured.

“According to Mrs Nyathi, when I asked her what had transpired, she was teaching my son how to write sentences by putting a finger between words to create space and he got frustrated leading to him stabbing himself with a pencil,” she said.

“I left him at school to finish his work with others as the wound seemed to be small, but he was refusing to remain behind as he continued to say he was afraid that his teacher would beat him up.”

She said she took him home in the afternoon, but he was crying all the way and she got reports that he refused to eat anything during lunch.

She then decided to take him to the clinic the following day.

“The doctor there said the wound was too wide and he referred us to Mpilo Hospital. At Mpilo Hospital the doctors said his cheek was swollen but they could not connect it with any problem and they continued to give him antibiotics. I told Mrs Nyathi about the condition, but she just replied by saying that she always tells the school pupils to be careful with pencils,” she said.

“The days went by but the wound was getting worse. At the beginning of April, we ended up going to United Bulawayo Hospitals, where the surgeon said they needed to press the wound so that pus may come out.”

She stated that in the process of pressing the wound, her son was in so much pain to an extent that he wished even to die.

“Can you imagine a six-year-old being pinned down by his father, his mother and the doctor to actually press the wound? That’s how bad the situation was. It was still the same story, nothing was changing. From March to April he could barely open his mouth, although the doctors performed a scan twice, they could not see the pencil.

“In May, after having tried all options, we then decided to buy those bandages that actually suck all the pus out and we then put it on him. The following day we then discovered that there was something that seemed to be coming out of the wound. On 3 May, the tip of the pencil appeared, we then took the boy back to UBH, where he was admitted and the pencil was removed.”

She added that the doctors informed them that the boy was lucky because, if by any chance, the pencil went straight into his head, it was going to cause brain damage.

“After seeing how serious the matter was, we then reported the matter to Sauerstown police leading to Mrs Nyathi’s arrest. Now the boy is fine, he is going to school but he is complaining about headaches. We thank God that he is actually alive.”

When Mrs Nyathi was contacted for a comment, she did not want to say much as she directed all the questions to her lawyer.

“I do not want to say much, but what I can say to you is that: yes, a child was injured while I was teaching in class, but I will not say much to you. If you need more you can talk to my lawyer,” she said. Sunday News