July 8: It happened in a primary school in the city of La Plata, Argentina. There were 70 bright-eyed children in one class. Seventy chattering children, all seven years old. A school rehearsal was on for Argentina’s Independence Day celebrations. And the teacher tried her best to see that they kept quiet during the rehearsal. But, the children did not.
The teacher lost her cool. She stuck tape over their mouths to make sure they did not talk. Indeed, they could not. We do not know whether the rehearsal went on after that. What we do know is that the teacher is facing charges of cruelty to children for taking such an extreme step.
But some parents supported the teacher. They said that she did a good job. That taping the mouths of 70 noisy children was just a game.
In Mumbai, Maharashtra, last week, the hostel superintendent of a tribal girls’ hostel did something equally drastic, says a report in ‘The Indian Express’. She was angry because she had received transfer orders. She transferred her anger on to the girls by locking up all the food supplies. The 22 tribal girls staying in the hostel went without food for three days.
The superintendent did something more before she left. She made the girls come to her office and caned some of them. She suspected that those girls had complained against her, and that had led to her transfer.
One in Argentina and one in India, but the cases seem similar. At least the relationship between the teacher and student seems similar. One shows power over the other.
Some weeks ago we had written about 12-year-old George Thampy in the US, who won the prestigious national spelling contest. He prefers learning at home to studying in school because the school he went to had metal detectors. They were installed there to detect hidden firearms with children. And most people had got used to the idea of violence in the school. Thampy did not want to get used to violence. Do you?