SRI LANKA: Teacher asks students to beat up 10-year-old classmate
Posted on June 29th, 2016

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-073-2016

27 June 2016

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SRI LANKA: Teacher asks students to beat up 10-year-old classmate

ISSUES: Child rights; torture; impartial investigation; impunity; rule of law; justice
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a 10-year-old girl has been tortured on the instructions of her teacher at Anula Devi Girls’ College in Galle District, Sri Lanka. The teacher ordered the class to beat the 10-year old girl on the head, considering it a minor crime; 44 students out of 50 followed the order. As a result, their classmate was physically and mentally traumatised.

CASE NARRATIVE:

According to the information received by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a 10-year-old girl child studying in Grade 4 of the Anula Devi Girls’ College, Magalle in the Galle District, was tortured by her teacher inside the classroom on 26  February 2016.  On this particular day, while the teacher was conducting a lesson, she observed that the girl was engaged in conversation with her classmates instead of paying attention.  Angered by this behavior, the teacher punished the girl by asking all the other students to beat her on the head during the class. Of the total 50 students, 44 beat the girl as per the teacher’s instructions.

The girl as a result suffered enormous pain both physically and mentally, and is in a state of shock and trauma. She was not allowed to talk or give any explanations during the punishment, causing her much frustration and stress.

The Anula Devi Girls’ College of Galle District comes under the direct authority and governance of the Central Government Educational Department. The actions of the teachers and the principal must therefore be considered as administrative and executive actions under the Constitution of the country. The teacher allegedly responsible for torturing the child is still undergoing her period of practical training and is formally affiliated to the Ruhuna Teacher Training College. The Principal of the College has allowed this trainee teacher without any supervision to be in charge of these students, and must also take responsibility for this act of torture.

The incident was reported to the Galle District Child Development Committee, after which on 24 May 2016, the matter was discussed at a meeting. The probation officer Ms. K. Nanayakkara who is the state officer responsible for women and child care affairs, vehemently underlined the severity of the punishment. She noted that this particular ‘science teacher, who is a trainee teacher at the school, had meted out this cruel punishment causing much grief and pain to the student who had later been afraid to go to school’.

On May 26, the Harbor Police of Galle arrested the teacher and produced her before the Additional Magistrate of Galle. The lawyers appearing for her admitted to giving directions to the students to beat their classmate, and requested for bail. The court granted bail and ordered the release of the teacher under the condition of Rs. 100, 000/ personal sureties. Further, the Magistrate has ordered the teacher not to continue further harassment of the student and not to use harsh language against the victim child.

The AHRC observed that the victim student must be provided with special care and counselling to ensure her well-being. She should not be kept in the same atmosphere where she would suffer continued harassment as a result of this incident amongst the other children who assaulted her. Further, the trainee teacher should not be allowed to continue to work in the same school and it is the responsibility of the education authorities to also provide the victim child with special and due care as soon as possible to develop the victim child’s attitude and skills towards her future educational activities.

Law enforcement authorities must take all necessary measures to prosecute the alleged suspected teacher under the Penal Code for cruelty to the child, considered as a crime under law.

 

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case and request an immediate investigation into the torturing of a student by a teacher in a government school. Furthermore, those proven to be responsible for this offence must be prosecuted under the criminal law of the country.

To support this case, please click here:

 

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ________, 

SRI LANKA: Teacher asks students to beat up 10-year-old classmate
Name of Victim: Girl of Grade 4 of the G/ Anula Devi Girls’ College in Galle District
Alleged perpetrators: Teacher and the school administration of the Anula Devi Girls’ College

Date of incident: 26 February 2016
Place of incident: Harbor Police Division Galle

According to the information received by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a 10-year-old girl child studying in Grade 4 of the Anula Devi Girls’ College, Magalle in the Galle District, was tortured by her teacher inside the classroom on 26th February 2016.  On this particular day, while the teacher was conducting a lesson, she observed that the girl was engaged in conversation with her classmates instead of paying attention.  Angered by this behavior, the teacher punished the girl by asking all the other students to beat her on the head during the class. Of the total 50 students, 44 beat the girl as per the teacher’s instructions.

The girl as a result suffered enormous pain both physically and mentally, and is in a state of shock and trauma. She was not allowed to talk or give any explanations during the punishment, causing her much frustration and stress.

The Anula Devi Girls’ College of Galle District comes under the direct authority and governance of the Central Government Educational Department. The actions of the teachers and the principal must therefore be considered as administrative and executive actions under the Constitution of the country. The teacher allegedly responsible for torturing the child is still undergoing her period of practical training and is formally affiliated to the Ruhuna Teacher Training College. The Principal of the College has allowed this trainee teacher without any supervision to be in charge of these students, and must also take responsibility for this act of torture.

The incident was reported to the Galle District Child Development Committee, after which on 24 May 2016, the matter was discussed at a meeting. The probation officer Ms. K. Nanayakkara who is the state officer responsible for women and child care affairs, vehemently underlined the severity of the punishment. She noted that this particular ‘science teacher, who is a trainee teacher at the school, had meted out this cruel punishment causing much grief and pain to the student who had later been afraid to go to school’.

On May 26, the Harbor Police of Galle arrested the teacher and produced her before the Additional Magistrate of Galle. The lawyers appearing for her admitted to giving directions to the students to beat their classmate, and requested for bail. The court granted bail and ordered the release of the teacher under the condition of Rs. 100, 000/ personal sureties. Further, the Magistrate has ordered the teacher not to continue further harassment of the student and not to use harsh language against the victim child.

The AHRC observed that the victim student must be provided with special care and counselling to ensure her well-being. She should not be kept in the same atmosphere where she would suffer continued harassment as a result of this incident amongst the other children who assaulted her. Further, the trainee teacher should not be allowed to continue to work in the same school and it is the responsibility of the education authorities to also provide the victim child with special and due care as soon as possible to develop the victim child’s attitude and skills towards her future educational activities.

Law enforcement authorities must take all necessary measures to prosecute the alleged suspected teacher under the Penal Code for cruelty to the child, considered as a crime under law.

I request the intervention of your good offices to ensure that the authorities listed below instigate an immediate investigation into the torturing of the girl. The victim should also be provided with adequate counseling and rehabilitation, to ensure that she can continue with her education and life without any hindrance.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Pujith Jayasundara
Inspector General of Police
New Secretariat
Colombo 1
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 440440 / 327877
E-mail: [email protected]

2. Mr. Jayantha Jayasooriya PC
Attorney General
Attorney General’s Department
Colombo 12
SRI LANKA
Fax: +94 11 2 436421
E-mail: [email protected]

3. Secretary
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 395310
Fax: +94 11 2 395867
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

4. Secretary
Human Rights Commission
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Colombo 8
SRI LANKA
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470
E-mail: [email protected]

Thank you.
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission ([email protected])

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