Anger after pupils were ‘soft lashed’

A Mdantsane mother is angry after her 17-year-old child was hit by a school governing body member at Ulwazi High School.
A Mdantsane mother is angry after her 17-year-old child was hit by a school governing body member at Ulwazi High School.
Image: File/ Mark Andrews

A Mdantsane mother is angry after her 17-year-old child was hit by a school governing body member at Ulwazi High School.

The SGB member, who is not being named to protect the identity of her own child attending the same school, told the Dispatch she did administer a single “soft lash” with “a light stick” to eight children for not cleaning a classroom.

The mother, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of her child, told the Dispatch that two pupils came back from school last Thursday with red marks on their hands.

She said the matter had been reported to the school principal Nomampondomise Kosani who declined to take action against the SGB member.

“The principal is aware of this and is downplaying the whole thing and does not want to discuss it. She just said that I am lying. I told her to investigate what is happening and to tell SGB members to stop beating kids. They do not have the right to hit our children, and they should know their limits with school discipline.”

Ulwazi, one of the poorest schools in Mdantsane, has obtained a 100% pass rate in the last four years.

“After I reported the matter to the principal, the children came back saying they had been confronted and interrogated on who had reported this to parents. The children live in fear. We took our kids there knowing that it’s a strict school but the SGB members have been taking it to another level.”

However, Kosani refuted the allegations. “There is no such thing happening in our school. If anyone knows about this then they must come to me so I can follow up on this. I want to hear what parents have to say because pupils open up to their parents sometimes.”

However, she later contradicted herself, saying: “I called the children and asked them about this. One of the pupils told me that the SGB member hit them for not sweeping the class. And each one received one lash. We have 1,286 children here so many things happen. I am not trying to hide this, but someone is just trying to discredit the school.”

The SGB member said she gave the pupils one “soft lash I also broke the rules by not reporting them to the principal. I gave them one lash each with a small stick. I was just playing with them. It was not a punishment, it was nothing serious”.

She said: “I know I do not have the right to hit anyone’s child. I have been through workshops, this is my second term in the SGB, I know very well what to do.”

Education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said: “We will investigate. SGB are parents who are governed by law and they can’t just do as they please. Corporal punishment is not allowed in South Africa.”

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