Tonga’s Women and Children Crisis Centre says it is working with the police to end corporal punishment in Tonga.
Last week, a middle school teacher was charged with assault over the beating of a student who was later hospitalised for his injuries.
The teacher also reportedly threatened to beat the 11-year-old’s parents if they reported the incident.
Corporal punishment is prohibited in schools in article 40 of the Education (Schools and General Provisions) Regulations 2002.
But the crisis centre’s team leader, Lesila Lokotui To’ia, said it was often used by both parents and teachers.
To’ia said it was not a positive form of discipline and the centre has been working to educate people.
“This is totally unacceptable, you know, and also the Crisis Centre’s stand is that we have no, zero tolerance towards this and also any form of violence,” she said.
The teacher was arrested after a call to a local radio station by the child’s grandmother triggered an investigation.
Acting Chief Superintendent Tevita Vailea said teachers punishing students physically is clearly against the law.
He said the police were working with the Women and Children’s Crisis Centre to eliminate the violence.
“To make sure that any victim of this kind of crime should have the courage to come forward and also in the long term, to create an environment in school that is more safe and more friendly and welcomes every member of society here,” Vailea said.
Established in October 2009, the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) was pioneered by a group of women and some male advocate supporters.
The group was determined to develop an NGO that efficiently and professionally delivers quality support services to victims and survivors of violence against women and girls throughout Tonga.
News category: Pacific.