A Saudi teacher was sacked from his job by the Ministry of Education following his violent reaction toward a student who was laughing in his class.
A one-minute video went viral on social media showing a Saudi private elementary school teacher in Al-Ahsa province holding a wooden stick with one hand and pushing a student into the wall with the other.
The teacher was insulting him and yelling: “Why are you laughing?” He slapped him three times on the face. The student kept on saying, “I am not laughing,” while the teacher continued verbally threatening him. The student ended up on the verge of crying.
Mubarak Al-Osaimi, Ministry of Education spokesman, said in a statement on his Twitter account: “The teacher was relieved from his post by the ministry as it is not the first time he had mistreated students, despite previous warnings given to him.”
Physical abuse such as assaults against children is considered a serious crime. Examples of physical abuse include slapping children, hitting them with an object or causing them bodily harm.
The Department of Education in Al-Ahsa has formed a team to investigate such incidents where the regulations stipulate that students should not be beaten but referred to student guidance to take appropriate action without harming them.
Manal Kayal, who has a PhD in counseling and psychotherapy, and is an assistant professor of psychology at King Abdul Aziz University, told Arab News about the causes of such abuse. “A lack of understanding of a child or young person’s developmental stages and behavior, or negative attitudes toward child behavior and lack of knowledge about child development can contribute to physical abuse of children. These teachers have unrealistic expectations of the child’s development.”
She added: “Some people may be mentally unstable or psychologically disturbed even though they may look normal. People who suffer from intermittent explosive disorder, bipolar disorder, impulse control disorder and similar conditions have a difficult time taking care of themselves, let alone caring for children who depend upon them for guidance and support.”
Nojoud Al-Qassem, a lawyer at the department of personal status and the rights of women and children, told Arab News: “In accordance with child protection laws against abuse, this act is criminal by law, in addition to violating Islamic teachings, regulations and international conventions to protect the rights of the child and protect him from all forms of verbal and psychological abuse in the environment that surrounds him.”
“Article 23 provides for the child to file a complaint that the Ministry of Education shall investigate the violation which occurred, and to file a case before the special court to determine the appropriate penalty against the violator whether from education or the internal administration of the school.”