By Gibson Mhaka
In a shocking instance of corporal punishment, a teacher at a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church-run primary school in Bulawayo is facing prosecution after he allegedly pummelled a Grade Three pupil against a desk resulting in the child losing a tooth and three other lower frontal teeth becoming loose after he failed to solve a Maths problem.
The horribly disturbing incident occurred at Queen Elizabeth Adventist Primary School.
It is reported that during a Maths class session, the teacher, Sanele Khumalo, was enraged after the pupil who cannot be named for ethical reasons, failed to solve a long division sum.
According to a medical report, following the brutal attack, the boy suffered permanent damage to his front tooth.
The matter is, however, set to be heard at the Bulawayo magistrate’s court on 6 May and Khumalo who is now facing assault charges, was reportedly relieved of his duties after the incident.
Narrating the shocking occurrence to B-Metro, the boy’s mother said as a parent, she felt frustrated, saddened and disappointed.
She said she decided to file charges against the teacher after she realised that the school was not forthcoming to assist with medical bills.
“I sent my son to Queen Elizabeth Adventist Primary School, a Christian school with faith and hope that he will be safe and be treated in kindness. I thought he would be safe from corporal punishment but sadly he suffered a permanent injury that has robbed him of his teeth.
“I was left wondering what kind of reprimand my child was subjected to. Sadly, in the aftermath of the incident the school has not been forthcoming to assist with medical bills,” she said.
She said there were also attempts by the school to force her to withdraw the matter but she refused, saying the assault on her son was serious and could not be condoned.
According to a report which was compiled by the school’s director Ellen Mfumu, and in possession of B-Metro, it confirmed that in a fit of rage, Khumalo allegedly hit the pupil against the desk resulting in him sustaining a broken tooth.
Mfumu said when the incident occurred as an institution they were ready to lay a charge against the teacher; but were limited by the “mutual” relationship between the teacher and the pupil.
“It was sometime in 2017 when I was informed by the teacher in charge that she had received a report of what happened the previous day. It was concerning a teacher whose learner was hit against a desk and cracked a tooth in the process.
“I phoned the parent to find out what had taken place and she came to the school in the company of other people and arrangements were made that the teacher pays the doctor for immediate attention, this process was done and the child was attended to.
The mother came about two days or so later and said all was well and the child had been attended to and would come to school, and this was in the presence of TIC (teacher-in-charge),” reads the report in part.
The report which was also substantiated by that of the teacher in charge a S Dube further says the mother was instructed by her son not to get the teacher arrested because he “loved” him.
“Everything seemed to have continued normally until 2019 when the case resurfaced. As an institution we were ready to lay a charge against the teacher, however, we were limited by the relationship between the teacher, pupil and his mother. We did not make her put down the forgiveness statement in writing as this would have been normal.”
Mfumu insisted the matter was reported and was dealt with by the school administration together with the mother of the child.
She (Mfumu) however, declined comment on the incident saying she was not at liberty to speak to the Press. Khumalo also refused to entertain questions from B-Metro saying the matter was now set to be heard in court. B-Metro