x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Corporal punishment leads to asthma attack

A teacher at a private school has been reprimanded for using physical force against a student that caused a child to suffer a medical emergency.

ABU DHABI // A teacher at a private school has been reprimanded for using physical force against a student that caused the child to suffer a medical emergency.

A Grade 8 student at the Abu Dhabi Indian School had to be rushed to hospital after being struck twice on the back by a teacher, which triggered a severe asthma attack, his parents said.

The school's administration refused to comment on the matter.

The student's medical condition was known to school officials, but he had not suffered a similar attack in some time, his mother said.

The incident took place on December 8, when the 13-year-old's mother got a call from the school nurse informing her about his condition. She later found out what caused the condition from his classmates.

"The school nurse said my son was hardly breathing and told me to head to the Khalifa Hospital," she said. "He was ice cold but his hands and legs were sweating when they brought him to the hospital. His eyes were open, but he was not responding.

"His friends told me that the teacher punished him for not completing his notes. After she hit him, he began to feel uncomfortable and couldn't breathe."

The student went to his next class but was struggling for breath, causing the teacher of that section to call the school nurse.

The incident was being taken seriously and an investigation was underway, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) said. "There is an expectation by Adec that every school's staff treat all students in a respectful manner, where each student knows they are trusted, respected and safe," Adec said. "Upon conclusion of the investigation, the teacher was given a number of serious consequences."

The school followed up and met with the parents to assure them their son was safe, Adec said.

Cases of physical abuse can lead to disciplinary action that could include an immediate suspension from duty and subsequent dismissal.

The student is now being instructed by another teacher at the parents' request.

His mother said the principal had agreed to take action against the teacher.

"I wanted the teacher suspended but was told that would not happen," she said. "It just worries me that if no strong action is taken, this will not be seen as a serious offence and will continue."