POLICE were called to Milton High School in Bulawayo yesterday after a student attacked a teacher.
Malvern Nyangani, 18, a Sixth Form student, squared up to a Maths teacher, Lawrence Ndebele, who was whipping him with a hosepipe for wearing gloves.
Police were called to the school to restore order and arrested both teacher and pupil. When our news crew arrived at the school, the visibly-angry Ndebele was seen coming out of the headmaster's office carrying a hosepipe.
The student was seen being escorted by two police officers to Bulawayo Central Police Station, and was later followed by his teacher. Police took no further action after cautioning the pair.
Speaking to reporters, Nyangani said he was reported to Ndebele for refusing to surrender gloves he was wearing by the school head boy, Ntandoyenkosi Moyo.
Nyangani said Ndebele, who tutors Form 4s and classes below, locked him in his office and started assaulting him with a hosepipe. When he grabbed it to protect himself, he claimed, the teacher started punching him, forcing him to retaliate.
"Mr Ndebele never gave me a chance to explain about the gloves and started assaulting me with a hosepipe. When I managed to wrest the hosepipe from him, he began using fists," said Nyangani.
He further claimed that Ndebele knocked him down and started kicking him.
"When I rose up, I tried to run away but the door had been locked. I was left with no alternative but to fight back," narrated Nyangani.
Nyangani claimed the teacher then picked up a knobkerrie but was restrained by a fellow teacher.
The headmaster, Misheck Ngwenya, had to call the police while the two fought behind closed doors.
Nyangani had bruises on his back and a swelling on the forehead while Ndebele was left nursing a bloodied nose.
Ndebele referred all questions to the headmaster, whose phone went unanswered.
Dan Moyo, the Provincial Education Officer, said he was on leave and was unable to comment.
Interestingly, Milton Boys High School's Form 4 Passrate is below 25% and for over a decade now, the school has been known for its seemingly rowdy students who reportedly cause havoc at other schools. A nearby school, BAS (Bulawayo Adventist School), which is about 250 metres away from Milton's second gate, allegedly banned Milton students from entering its premises several years back.
Corporal punishment at schools was recently banned, with the Deputy Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Dr Paul Mavima telling Parliament that it was illegal under the new Constitution adopted last year.
Presently, the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act and Article 66 of the Education Act allow corporal punishment when it is used on boys because the government is yet to realign the two pieces of legislation with the supreme law of the land.
In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that the whipping of boys under the age of 18 constituted inhuman and degrading punishment as it contravened section 15 of the old Constitution.
The government responded by amending that section of the old Constitution to allow "moderate" punishment for boys.
Section 53 of the new Constitution says: "No person may be subjected to physical and psychological torture or to cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment."