|www.corpun.com : Archive : 1999 : LK Schools Mar 1999|
Sunday Times, Colombo, 21 March 1999
Police pursue child abuse case
By Ayesha R. Rafiq
The child abuse unit of the police has appealed to the Attorney General's Department asking for a revision of order in a judgment given in a child abuse case.
The case is one of alleged physical abuse of a student by a teacher at the Panadura Wekada Bauddhaloka Vidyalaya, over a month back.
A 16-year-old boy had absented himself from a school parade practice, complaining of a headache. When the teacher had called him the boy had not responded, allegedly fearing punishment.
However when the boy had finally approached the teacher and explained the situation, he had allegedly been caned about 20 times on his thighs, hips and buttocks, by the teacher, leaving large welts on him.
Professor Harendra de Silva, Chairman of the Child Protection Authority however said that under the 1939 Education Ordinance Regulation 23, it is only the Principal of a school or someone to whom he delegates authority, who can punish a child, and that too, a maximum of four cuts on the palm, with a cane. The boy had left the school and come back later in the day. On his arrival, teachers had informed the principal that he had come back with a gang with the intention of assaulting the teacher.
The Principal had then made a complaint to the Panadura police. The boy's attempt to make a complaint at the police station was allegedly refused by the Panadura OIC, which Professor de Silva pointed out was unlawful.
On the same day, the principal had asked the boy's mother to take him out of school. When the boy had gone to school the next day to meet his friends for the last time, the police had again been called.
An Inspector of the Panadura police had slapped the boy, abused him in foul language and taken him to the police station where he was handed over to his mother, allegedly at 11 pm.
Fort Magistrate Mervyn Wijetunga dismissed the case on the grounds that the teacher had acted correctly in disciplining the child.
The request for a revision of order of the judgment was made to the Attorney General last week, Professor de Silva said.
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