‘I was lashed with an electric wire:’ Egyptian boy reveals teacher abuse

A fourth-grade primary student was reportedly beaten and whipped 40 times by his teacher at school

Shounaz Meky - Al Arabiya News
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Blood was dripping from his eyes and his entire body was raw from the attack, a heartbroken father told Al Arabiya News Channel following the alleged beating of his son at school.

The fourth-grade primary student in Egypt was reportedly lashed 40 times by his teacher after he allegedly tried to talk to his peer during class time.

The child, named Bibawi, was atending school in Heliopolis, an upscale district in the capital Cairo.

The teacher reportedly heard the student asking his friend to clear the way for him to see the board, according to an article on Egyptian newspaper Youm 7.

He then allegedly closed the door and began whipping the child using an electric wire which he used to strike the boy 40 times.

The punishment bought back images of the notorious Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants, who punish women for wearing high heels by 40 lashes, according to news reports.

Bibawi’s father, Faraj Farajallah, said he was at work, when he received a phone call from someone who asked him to come immediately to see his son.

“By the time I arrived, the school was closed and all the teachers and the principle were gone. Only the watchman was there,” he said during an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel.

“How would they be gone leaving behind a beaten kid with his eyes and body bleeding, and his hands scratched due to beating…” he continued.

The father works as a property warden in the same district where the school is located. He moved from the governorate of Minya to Cairo three years ago in search for work and education for his son.

Recalling what happened to his son, Farajallah said the teacher whipped his son 40 times for speaking during class.

“He took the wire and closed the door then started to beat him in a savage manner. The kids who were there told me.”

The teacher was reportedly summoned, according to Egypt’s education minister. The ministry statement confirmed that the teacher lashed the student for talking to his peer but there was no mention of the tool used in the case.

In Egypt, incidents of teachers using physical punishment to discipline their students are common in many public schools.

Although corporal punishment is banned in Egypt the levels of violence remain high.

Cairo-based education expert Kamal Mougheeth described the incident as a “crime against our children” and said “by no means should it be justified.”

He told Al Arabiya News such incidents flowed from social and educational “backwardness,” rooted in many Arab societies.

“It tends to reflect a psychology that allows those with power to abuse the defeated, the elder to beat the younger or males to beat females.”

He also said that the use of lashings as a punishment tended to recall “backward-looking religious heritage.”

Mougheeth said teachers should not be allowed to physically punish their students in a bid to treat misbehaviors in a classroom, saying he had 10 years of experience in the education sector and had never resorted to corporal punishment.

“There are many problems with education in this part of the world. One of the most important is the lack of teacher preparation and professional development,” said Khawlah Ahmed,an associate professor in English language and literature at the American University of Sharjah.

“Teaching is one of the most important professions core to the development and foundations of any society,” she told Al Arabiya News. Ahmed insisted that teachers hold great responsibilities in molding the personalities of their students.

In accordance with proper education standards, Ahmed said she disagrees with any physical abuse or punishment on students.

“Teachers are some of the most influential role models that students look up to, and their behavior will be reflected on the students they teach, which in turn will be reflected in the larger society.”

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