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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2009   :  BW Schools Feb 2009

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School CP - February 2009



Corpun file 21112

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Mmegi, Gaborone, 11 February 2009

I Don't Spare the Rod -- Headmaster

By Chippa Legodimo

Sedibelo Junior Secondary School headmaster, Phometsi Phometsi, has denied charges that he abused five female students at the school by administering corporal punishment.

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On Monday, Phometsi punished the five students for putting on the wrong uniform during the Saturday study and one of them sustained injuries to her right hand.

The student, Onalenna Masupu, had to seek medical assistance after the beating and was referred to Deborah Retief Memorial in Mochudi where an x-ray examination was undertaken to see if her hand was fractured.

She and other students attended to the Saturday study wearing trousers when they were supposed to be putting on tunics.

At the hospital, she was given pills before being discharged and hand was still badly swollen with some bruises.

However, Phometsi does not regret what he has done and he is adamant that the injuries sustained by Masupu was 'just an accident'.

He also denied using excessive force in administering punishment. The head teacher said he beat the girls on the buttocks.

"It was just unfortunate that she tried to block the stick and the hand got hurt. I was just doing this in line with the set policies and I can safely say I was within the regulations," Phometsi said.

Although he denied it, Phometsi is notorious for 'hurting' students when punishing them. One of the teachers at the school, who did not want to be named, said this was not the first case.

"We are always taking students to the clinic after his beatings. It is serious, we would oppose any action meant to put the students on the straight line but not when it is done so carelessly that they have to be taken to hospital".

One of the staff members also said that Phometsi had threatened to take action against him when he complained about the way he punished students.

Masupu said this was not the first time the school head did that to students and that after physical punishment they were forced to cut grass around the school yard with slashers.

"If at all I meant to cause any injury then we would not have taken the students to the clinic. It is the same in a game of football where you go into a tackle trying to win the ball and then you injure your opponent. You have to go and give him a hand but I was not wrong to punish them," Phometsi said.

"There is a new uniform system that we was recently introduced and it has been met with some resistance from some students and I have been forced to step in and punish them," he said.

However, the school head said that lack of discipline was no longer rife in the school compared to when he arrived last May.

"I have been able to restore order here because I have never hesitated when it comes to punishing students. Just after we opened, parents at the Parents Teacher Association (PTA) meeting said they were now happy about the way things have improved since I took over. I am surprised that some people are complaining about me being abusive," he said.

Copyright 2009 Mmegi/The Reporter. All rights reserved.

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