Teacher detained in southern Egypt over allegedly beating child to death
The public prosecution ordered on Wednesday the detention of a teacher in a southern Egyptian school over allegedly beating an 11-year-old schoolgirl to death, an act that sent shockwaves across the North African country.
The teacher in question is accused of treating children aggressively by beating them up with a bat without a legal or professional cause, according to a statement by the public prosecutor's office in Assuit province.
The child's classmates testified that the suspect insisted on hitting the child, named Renad, on the hand. When she refused to open her hand out of fear, the teacher beat her up on several parts of her body, causing her to stagger and hit her head on the seat as she fell to the ground.
Preliminary findings indicated that Renad may have suffered from a cardiac arrest.
In a video report run by the local Veto online newspaper, the child's father said that his child hesitated about going to school on the morning of the incident because she was afraid of the teacher.
"I told her not to be afraid and wrote my phone number on a piece of paper and gave it to her to call me in case anything happens," the father said.
The father added that several teachers visited him hours later, asking him to go to the school and see her because she was sick, but "it turned out that she was already dead."
According to the testimonies of parents of other children, the teacher in question is known for resorting to physical punishment rather than verbal advice.
The teacher denied having anything to do with the child's death.
The prosecution ordered an autopsy of the victim's body and the school's director has been suspended by the local education directorate until the investigation's conclusion.
"Teachers need to be assessed psychologically before holding teaching positions to identify whether they are qualified to deal with children," children's rights advocate Mahmoud El-Badawy told The New Arab.
"There must be psychological indicators to know whether they have emotional stability," Badawdy, also a lawyer, added.
Legally, if proven guilty, the teacher will be prosecuted over manslaughter.
"But in his case, it's allegedly beating to death with a tool. I believe, based on the autopsy's results, he could be sentenced from 5–10 years, even though there was no intention to kill her," Badawy concluded.
Such heinous incidents of children injured or killed by teachers are not new to Egyptian schools. In October this year, a nine-year-old schoolgirl died in northeastern Dakalia province after allegedly being hit on her head by an Arabic teacher for making a spelling mistake.