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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Boy forced to walk barefoot in searing heat after wearing wrong shoes to school, court hears

Teacher accused of taking away child's shoes as punishment for not following clothing regulations

A teacher has been accused of endangering the safety of a pupil she forced to walk barefoot in the scorching midday heat as punishment for wearing the wrong colour shoes to school, a court heard.

The Grade 8 teacher at a school in Sharjah ordered the boy to take off his footwear for failing to follow regulations on school attire, according to prosecutors.

Despite the pupil apologising, the teacher allegedly refused to give the shoes back, meaning the child had to walk for the bus home in his bare feet.

The name of the school was not disclosed in court.

Prosecutors said she still declined to hand over the footwear after a subsequent appeal by the boy's father, only relenting after the intervention of a school bus supervisor.

The teacher, whose age and nationality were not disclosed, has been charged with assaulting the pupil through an action that endangered his safety.

The incident, which took place on May 10, only came to light when the pupil's father noticed that his son had become withdrawn and was unwilling to go to school.

When his son told him what had happened, the father alerted police.

The pupil told prosecutors that after the end of his classes, he went to the teacher and apologised, asking for his shoes back but she refused and threw him out of her office.

“I had to walk to the bus barefoot,” he said.

His father said he also requested the teacher return the shoes, but she declined to do so.

“The bus supervisor intervened and got the shoes back, but my son didn’t want to come back to school after this incident,” the father said.

The school's principal said she launched an investigation as soon as she became aware of the incident, which she said took place without her knowledge or approval.

“The moment I became aware of it, I opened an investigation," she said.

She said a committee was formed to listen to the testimony of the pupil, his classmates and the teacher, with disciplinary action subsequently taken against the teacher.

The teacher is expected to appear before Sharjah Criminal Court on Tuesday.