A Grade 1 pupil spent the night inside a strongroom at a primary school in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank), Mpumalanga. He was only discovered the following morning by the school principal who opened the room looking for a file.
The 30-year-old Blackhill Primary School teacher responsible for the act was immediately suspended yesterday.
She apparently did this in an attempt to discipline the child. The teacher apparently forgot to release the child on Wednesday afternoon before going home.
The Mpumalanga department of education said the room with heavy steel doors was used to store school equipment such as computers, question papers and other documents.
Provincial spokesperson Jasper Zwane said: “His parents got worried when he did not arrive home at the usual time. They searched in vain and reported the matter to the police.”
After the boy’s parents reported the matter to the principal on Thursday at about 10am, he was accidentally discovered when the principal went to the strong room to look for a file, Zwane told The Citizen.
“The following morning, the parents were told that the teacher forgot the [pupil] in the strongroom,” he said. “The department has instituted an investigation to probe the circumstances that led to this incident.”
While the matter was being investigated, Zwane told The Citizen the teacher alleged to have locked the boy in as a form of detention.
“But she forgot him,” he added. “The child is fine. After he was discovered, he was taken to the clinic and he is undergoing counselling.”
While the department would not open criminal charges and would instead follow internal processes, Zwane said the parents could take the matter to the police if they wished.
“Our processes are parallel. If the parents intend to lay a criminal case, they can proceed to do so but from our side, we have our own internal processes.”
- Meanwhile, a teacher at Abedare Primary School in the Western Cape was being investigated by the authorities for allegedly punishing a Grade 1 pupil for not paying R2 for casual day. The child was locked in a classroom.