Teacher ‘punched’ special needs pupil

A grade 4 teacher at a Port Elizabeth special needs school – already issued with a final warning for intimidating a child – is being investigated again after allegedly punching a grade 7 pupil with a learning disability in the chest with a clenched fist during break time.
The incident at the Northern Lights Special School in Cotswold – which was witnessed by a security guard – has infuriated the mother of the 14-year-old, who says she was never informed of it and the only thing that prevented her from laying a charge with police was a plea from the school to allow an internal investigation first.
However, she claims the school has taken no action in more than two weeks.
The provincial education department says it is also investigating why it was not informed of the alleged assault at it should have been.
The mother – who is not being named to protect her son’s identity – said he had just left the school cafeteria on August 20 and was standing with friends in the quad during second break when the teacher approached him and began shouting at him.
A security guard who witnessed the incident wrote in a report – which The Herald has seen and which was addressed to the department and school principal Trevor Roman – that the teacher had started arguing with the teenager before shouting: “Wat kan jy my maak? (What can you do to me?)”.
The report said that immediately after making this statement the teacher had “closed her fist and with a balled fist hit him [the pupil] hard in the chest”.
The boy’s mother said the school had failed to inform her of the incident and she was made aware of it only once her son told her when he returned to their home in Central.
She said upon returning to the school this week she had noted that the teacher was still teaching.
“She needs to be removed with immediate effect. This is not the first time this teacher has been accused of this type of thing. While I am not saying my child is an angel, nothing warrants a teacher lifting their hand to a pupil.”
Charges of intimidating a pupil were brought against the teacher last year, which resulted in her receiving a final written warning.
According to department of education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima, the school failed to notify the district office of the latest incident and it had only been made aware of it on Wednesday after a media query.
Both the child’s mother and the security guard described the boy as being in a state of shock after the incident, with his mother adding that he remained traumatised.

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