Govt orders school abuse investigation … teachers accused of ‘bullying’ boy living with disability
OKAPUKU – A mother of a 17-year-old boy living with disability has expressed shocked that her child is being abused and harassed by some of the teachers at a local school, resulting in the teenager taking a break from school.
The claims have led to an investigation by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
The mother, Simsolia Hosea, said she was left traumatised after her son, Henock Mvula, told her he was no longer interested in school, saying he was not comfortable being in the company of certain teachers who reportedly abused him. Mvula is a grade 9 pupil at Oshifukwa Combined School in Omuthiya constituency of Oshikoto region.
When New Era visited the family at Okapuku B outside Omuthiya, Mvula was resting under a tree, while her mother was preoccupied with house chores.
Mvula, who was born with a rare complication to his right arm, leg and mouth, told this reporter that although he wants to complete his studies to become a mechanical engineer, he decided to take a break from school, claiming he was beaten, kicked and pushed on the floor by a female teacher.
He narrated that the first incident happened when he was in grade 5 at the same school when the same teacher accused him of stealing food from other learners’ bags. “When I was in grade 5, the same teacher started accusing me of stealing. I don’t touch people’s things and I do not have energy to do so. I know I am not able to defend myself,” he emotionally explained.
He further explained that the second incident with the same teacher happened when she found him walking with other learners and ordered them to go to class. “My classmates ran to class because they are able and I was walking fast because I am not able to run due to my condition. She kicked me on my buttocks. I looked behind to see who kicked me. Then she pushed me, causing me to fall on the floor. My friends picked me up. She then continued beating me in the head until I cried,” he narrated.
He said he still does not know the reason why the teacher abused him. He explained in front of his mother that his friends advised him to go to the principal’s office to report the teacher. The principal reportedly told him to go back to him if his pain has worsened.
“When I went to the principal I wanted him to take me to the hospital because I was paining all over my body, but I did not get the help. I was only taken to the hospital by another teacher who knows my parents,” he added.
According to his mother, Mvula lost a lot of blood following the incident, which worsened his condition. The mother explained that the teacher, identified as Natalia Amwaama, has since visited the family and offered to compensate them hospital costs.
“When the teacher visited us here, at home, she told us the principal has sent them to come and render an apology. We accepted the apology. And then she asked us if she can compensate us what we have used for the hospital. I said ‘no’ because the damage caused cannot be compensated with money,” she said, saying up to now, she has not yet managed to get an audience with the school to discuss the matter.
Mvula’s mother has since approached the ministry of gender equality to look into the issue.
Another teacher, who spoke to New Era on condition of anonymity, confirmed the case of Amwaama is well known at the school.
Mvula’s mother also claimed a male teacher had recently also harassed her son and other learners when they failed a test. The male teacher reportedly punished all the failed learners by ordering them to weed the grass on the school premises. Given his condition, Mvula suggested to use a rake to remove the grass because he was unable to use a hoe. The teacher allegedly started shouting at Mvula, telling him he was wasting government money that he was receiving through a monthly grant.
When contacted for comment, the school’s principal, John Mulundu, said he had instructed Amwaama to visit the family and apologise to Mvula. He added that he has received a call from the parents, informing him that the child will no longer go to school because he is not feeling well.
However, Mulundu did not confirm the third incident that involved a male teacher. The councillor of Omuthiya, Samuel Shivute, appealed to teachers to treat learners based on their specialities and equally support them as much as they can, instead of harassing them.
Attempts to reach Amwaama proved futile yesterday.
Pained… Henock Mvula pictured with his mother Simsolia Hosea at Okapuku village.
Photo: Loide Jason
2020-02-28 07:04:55 | 4 months ago