If a teacher beats a child, who is liable, the school or the teacher?

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One fateful day, Teacher Zombo beat up Specioza and her friend, Zubeda for exchanging notes in class while he was teaching. He beat them up with no regard of the pain they were going through. Due to the intensity of the beating, Specioza fainted and was rushed to the school nurse. The nurse later transferred her to a nearby clinic because she failed to revive Specioza. At the clinic, it was found out that Teacher Zombo had broken Specioza’s arm while ‘disciplining her.’

Teacher Zombo was arrested and taken to Nabwojjo Police Post.. Her parents had to incur the cost of treating her at the clinic. Little Specioza has gone through a lot of physical and psychological pain. In fact, she does not want to go back to that school anymore. Her parents now want justice for what happened to their daughter.

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT DISCIPLINING A CHILD?

Schools are supposed to be a haven for students when they are away from home. They are expected to thrive mentally, physically and emotionally. The Children Act calls for the protection of children from any kind of physical and emotional violence. When children are subject to this kind of treatment, it is known as corporal punishment which is illegal.

Corporal punishment is any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however, light.
It takes the form of slapping, caning, pinching, being made to kneel while carrying stones in the sun, being forced to jump squats, scrub toilets using a toothbrush, being humiliated and other personal insults.

Therefore, there is no justification that can be given by a teacher for the maltreatment of a child while they are at school because the Ministry of Education outlawed this practice.

WHO SHOULD SPECIOZA’S PARENTS SUE, THE SCHOOL OR THE TEACHER ZOMBO?

The simple answer is both.
1. Because what Teacher Zombo did was against the law, the parents can report him to police for assault and for causing grievous harm to Specioza.

2. The school is responsible for the actions of their members of staff so this means that the parents can sue the school for what happened to their daughter.

If you or anyone you know has a child or student still undergoing corporal punishment, remember that this is illegal and you can report this to police or sue the school for this conduct. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for any other information on this topic

Source: Barefoot Lawyers- Uganda.