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Beaten student’s mother lodges complaint against teachers

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The issue, however, is more complex than meets the eye

Corporal Punishment: The Trongsa incident, where the parent of a class 10 student lodged a complaint against two teachers, accusing them of battering her son, has raised again the issue of parents’ intolerance to corporal punishment.

The student’s mother, a resident of Dorji gonpa, filed a case with Trongsa police on December 8 evening against two non-Bhutanese teachers of Sherubling HSS, alleging that the two teachers battered her son.

The student, who was admitted to Trongsa hospital since December 9, and appeared his board examination from the hospital, was sent home yesterday.  Medical officials said the 19-year-old boy was admitted after he complained of severe pain. “There was no internal injury, but we treated him with pain killers to relieve the pain,” a medical officer said.

The mother alleged that her son could not appear the board examination well, as the incident affected him mentally.

School authorities said the incident occurred on the afternoon of December 8, after one of the teachers asked the student to report to him at 3:30pm for getting into a classroom the night before.  The student stays in the hostel.

“When the student didn’t report to him on time and failed to apologise, the teacher beat the student with a twig,” the school’s vice-principal, Ugyen, said. “The other teacher intervened, when the student pushed the teacher, and held the student to stop getting into a fight.”

Teachers alleged that the student got into the classroom from the window on the night of December 7, after they briefed the students not to get into classrooms.

Vice principal Ugyen said the teacher, after seeing the student in the classroom, asked him to report to him after the examination. “He didn’t take action on the spot so that the student could appear the exam.”

School authorities said the teachers involved were simple and hardworking, and the incident, although unfortunate, was the student’s fault.

Teachers also said that the student, who complained of backache, could not appear the board examination the year before, and that the school exempted him from attending morning assembly and social works.

“After being so considerate, we didn’t expect the parents to go to this level,” the vice-principal said.  The school authorities requested the parents to withdraw the case, so that they could resolve it mutually.

School authorities also said the teachers were in Trongsa for the last 11 years and the incident affected them equally.

But the mother is questioning the police on why the two teachers haven’t been detained, as she lodged the complaint on December 8. “I’m a farmer, but I understand law,” she said. “The teachers should be detained.”

She alleged that the teachers kicked and caned her son. “I would tolerate if it wasn’t that severe,” the mother said.

Trongsa police said, after receiving the complaint on December 8, they called both the teachers and the boy. “After the incident, the boy went back to hostel,” a police source said. “He was only admitted to the hospital the next day.”

Police, who are still conducting the preliminary investigation and questioning witnesses, said it’s too early to comment on why they did not detain the teachers.

“If police needs to detain the teachers, the student will be detained but, since he was appearing the board examination, we had to consider it,” an official said.

By Tashi Dema

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