A school and its staff have come under heavy criticism after it emerged that a young girl had been slapped 168 times by students who had been ordered to do so by their teacher. The punishments occurred over a period of six days and when the girl’s father discovered what had happened he complained to the police and the school authorities.
The school is based in Madhya Pradesh, India and the teacher responsible was a science teacher. The 14-year-old girl failed to complete her homework because of illness. Something, the father says, that the teacher was not aware of. Furthermore as a result of the stress and fear of being repeatedly slapped the girl fell ill and became unwilling to return to school, and she even had to be admitted to a hospital.
Speaking to reporters the police said,
“We had received a complaint. No injury was found during the medical examination of the girl. Our team also visited the school and found that such an incident had occurred. We are investigating further. However, no formal case has been registered so far.”
Bizarrely the principal of the school has seen fit to defend the teacher’s actions and told the press,
“We don't allow corporal punishment in the school. The girl is weak in studies and doesn't complete her assignments. They were not strong slaps but mild and friendly ones. We will also talk to the parents.”
The school authorities have also confirmed that they have opened an investigation. The school has clearly tried to get around a ban on slapping by having the students do it instead, but we doubt that anyone will be fooled by that kind of thinking. The girl in question has suffered unnecessarily and has likely experienced a fair amount of humiliation.
To us, this sounds a little bit like school-sanctioned bullying.