Namibia: Parents Claim Teacher Beat Child Unconscious, By Denver Isaacs, The Namibian (Windhoek), August 13, 2008

NAMBIA - An 11-year-old pupil from a Windhoek primary school ended up in hospital after his class teacher allegedly hit him on the head with a chalkboard duster.

The incident happened at the Mandume Primary School on Friday, July 25.

According to the boy's father, Matheus Manyemba, he and the child's mother were summoned to the school at around 10h00 that day, and were told that their child had had an accident.

The child was in the school's sickbay at this time, Manyemba said, and was unconscious.

They took him to the Katutura State Hospital, where the boy remained the whole weekend.

Manyemba said the school had initially told him that the boy had fallen off his chair and had collapsed.

When the boy regained consciousness on Friday night, he told a different story, however.

"He told us that he was beaten by his teacher," Manyemba told The Namibian.

By this time, the parents had already told the medical staff at the hospital what they had heard from the school principal, and they decided to rather wait and speak to the school before taking any steps.

"We went to the school that Monday and we spoke to the principal and also to the teacher involved.

He didn't deny it," Manyemba said.

The teacher told them that he had called the boy to the front of the class, presumably for being noisy.

"It seems he wanted to hit him on the hands, but the child refused and was being difficult, then he hit him on the head," Manyemba recalled the teacher's story yesterday.

When the boy returned to his desk, he collapsed and was taken to the sickbay.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, school principal Ileni Shilongo said the matter had been concluded between the parents and the school.

"It wasn't something purposeful.

It wasn't meant as corporal punishment," he said.

He said his head of department had contacted the parents immediately after being informed of the incident, and that they hadn't shown any intention of taking the matter further.

"The doctor found that nothing serious was wrong with the child.

The parents and the school understand each other.

I spoke to the father today, and he didn't have a problem," Shilongo said, adding that a third party who informed The Namibian of the incident was simply trying to stir up trouble.

Asked about his latest communication with the school, however, Manyemba said he had contacted the school yesterday morning to find out whether they had taken any further action regarding his son's case.

"My worry now is more over the effect of that incident.

I want him to get checked to make sure there's not any more damage that could cost him later on.

This issue is supposed to be followed up by the school.

Why should he [teacher] have done that?" Manyemba said.

He said he and his wife were still discussing whether or not to register a case with the Police, but they had decided to follow the matter up with the Ministry of Education.

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