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Teachers’ schoolyard scrap leads to child abuse claims

Teachers' schoolyard scrap leads to child abuse claims
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Makgadikgadi JSS

Basarwa pupils at the centre of Makgadikgadi JSS storm

An unseemly scuffle between two senior teachers at Makgadikgadi Junior School in Mosu village has exposed allegations of abuse against Basarwa students in the school.

The physical fight, which broke out in the schoolyard in front of startled students last Tuesday, has since been reported to the police.

It was during questioning that sordid details of alleged mistreatment of Basarwa pupils at the school emerged.

Speaking to The Voice on Wednesday, Station Officer in Mosu, Sergeant Dintweng confirmed, “The issues of abuse of Basarwa students kept cropping up during the investigations. But we wouldn’t want to dwell much on them because that was not what was before us.

“It has never been officially reported to us. What we are currently looking into is a case of two teachers who fought in front of students.”

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However, The Voice is in possession of a leaked WhatsApp communication between teachers at Makgadikgadi JSS alleging the severe ill-treatment of Basarwa children.

Teachers' schoolyard scrap leads to child abuse claims

One educator accuses some of her peers of bullying the kids to the point that many of them have run away from school to escape the torment.

One of the messages, part of a heated exchange between two teachers, reads as follows, “As one of the three senior female employees here I have never before or after the arrival of our HOD seen a school prospectus that denies girl child plaiting or a staff meeting with PTA discussing students hairstyles. Forcefully undoing students’ hair by other students is wrong and uncalled for. I maintain my position. Excessive beating, insulting children and their parents are wrong. Undressing children and denying them food as a form of punishment is illegal, inhumane, barbaric and cruel.

“This is a violation of the constitution, the children’s Charter and Human Rights which states that no one has to be violated on the basis of age, gender, race, social class or whatsoever reason. I maintain my position on this matter.”

Following up on these allegations, The Voice contacted a teacher at the school who insisted the reports were true.

Teachers' schoolyard scrap leads to child abuse claims

The source made mention of a disturbing incident which allegedly took place in March, claiming a senior teacher stripped two Basarwa boys and measured their genitals as part of a punishment for apparent misdemeanours.

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“Abuse of this nature against Basarwa is common, as are unwarranted beatings and being denied food for perceived wrongdoings,” maintained the Makgadikgadi JSS insider

Although The Voice reached out to the Boteti Sub Region Chief Education Officer Milidzani Nduna on Tuesday, she was locked in a meeting all day.

We had sought to find out if she was aware of the allegations of abuse, as well as the number of Baswara students admitted at the school since 2018 and how many had quit to date.

Despite promising to respond to questions after her Wednesday meeting with the District Commissioner, Nduna had not done so by the time of going to print.

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