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Times of Swaziland, Mbabane, 19 August 2013
Salesian pupils forced to lower trousers in corporal punishment
By Timothy Simelane
Manzini -- Corporal punishment has been taken to a different level at Salesian High School where pupils are made to lower trousers to get the better of bare buttocks.
Some parents are livid at this, and labelled it both indecent harassment and brutality.
In the past Salesian, the country's only boy's school, has been known for rearing unruly and violent boys.
However, the administration said this stigma has deteriorated and the boys' conduct has improved over time. Noteworthy, of late, elements of wayward conduct have been slowly creeping back to the Catholic school based in Manzini.
The School Head teacher Petross Horton says he has had to deal with cases of smoking and absconding of classes of late. This conduct had forced the administration to tighten screws on discipline.
However, some pupils have cracked in the process and reported the head teacher to parents. A parent who could not tolerate this went to report alleged abuse to the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA).
The parent remarked: "My child said the head teacher forced him to lower his trousers and them battered his bare buttocks with a stick so big it was like a plank. I may not have objections to my son being punished for misdemeanour, but making him to take off his trouser, leaving his buttocks bare is another story. I have had not option but to report this to SWAGAA so they can intervene," the parent said.
Horton said none of the parents have come to complain to him about the issue.
He conceded that, on rare occasions, he has had to force boys to lower their trousers so he can punish their flesh. "Teachers are not allowed to punish pupils, as such a task is left for the head teacher. I don't administer more than three strokes, where necessary. If I exceed three, then I am dealing with a worst case scenario."
He said the school policy was clear, that those who were not pleased with the disciplinary measures should speak out. "Just recently, parents were asking why we do not discipline the pupils if their conduct is untoward. It is worrying then, that other parents are disgruntled."
He said corporal punishment was not a common disciplinary code but dialogue. "We usually sit with the boy and explain to him the consequences of his conduct and he appreciates. I then tell such a pupil that I do not want to entertain any more complaints about him in future and he agrees to reform."
Horton said even teachers could attest to that corporal punishment was not commonly used.
"One day a parent was angry that we had not beaten up a boy whose conduct was out of line. I said to the parent, "Why don't you beat the boy up yourself at home instead of relying upon the school?" he asked.
All material © Times of Swaziland.
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