Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- In its first reaction to allegations a teacher physically assaulted a pupil with an electric cable, published exclusively in Asharq al Awsat earlier this week, the Saudi Ministry of Education pledged to investigate the incident to uncover the truth and act accordingly.
In a statement released by the Ministry on Wednesday, Deputy Minister Dr. Saad al Malis expressed his regret over the incident, where a teacher was caught on a mobile phone camera punishing a 13-year-old student.
Dr. al Malis urged the relevant Ministry officials to investigate the incident, which he describe as “regrettable” and discover the facts. He compared the teacher’s behavior, if confirmed, to aggravated assault and said it was a counter effective measure the Ministry did not endorse no matter what the situation. Instead, teachers and all those in contact with students were expected to follow certain procedures and know how best to tackle unruly students by referring them to their teachers, the school guide and in a last resort, the school administrators. All should act responsibly and follow the laws and regulations set by the education authorities in the Kingdom, the statement added.
The Ministry pledged to follow up the incident, which angered teachers and Saudi society and take appropriate action against the physical and psychological abuse that occurred, in contravention to the humane and positive example that instructors are meant to set and hoped this was an isolated case.
On Wednesday, Asharq al Awsat published the details of the attack and discussed its legal implications on the student and his teacher with some urging the authorities to suspend the teacher and remove him from education if found guilty.
A legal expert interviewed by Asharq al Awsat indicated that the teenager’s family had the right to take legal action against the teacher who did not respect his pupil, adding that physical punishment was not acceptable in education as it humiliates the victim.
In another legal development, the Saudi National Human Rights Organization revealed it was examining the incriminating video and called on the Ministry to establish the truth and act accordingly.