put violent teacher in place
A girl in Bangladesh was punished severely by her school teacher. Five young activists decided to put corporal punishment on the political agenda
A male teacher at a Primary School in Charbiswash; a small rural village Bangladesh, used to punish young students both physically and mentally. In particular, he practised corporal punishment against the young girls.
Even though corporal punishment is illegal in Charbiswash Community, the local authorities and parents do not consider it to be a crime.
In the spring of 2016 the teacher took it too far and punished a young girl by hitting her with a stick so hard that she had to be hospitalized immediately.
FIVE YOUNG ACTIVISTS RAISE THE ALARM
When three young women and two young men came to hear of the incident they were outraged. They had just completed a Young Feminist Leadership Training (YFL) from Global Platform Bangladesh; ActionAid’s youth training hub based in Dhaka, and felt ready to act on the injustice. They immediately met the parents of the hospitalized student, and encouraged them to file legal action against the teacher.
The student and parents were unable to move forward and seek justice, because of the teachers’ good relationship with the local political elites. The YFL participants were undeterred, they mobilised the community and planned a campaign strategy to bring justice to all victims of corporal punishment from the school.
The YFL participants sought assistance from a local NGO, ActionAid’s partner South Asia Partnership Bangladesh and together identified supporters from the local government administration. Subsequently the participants organised a meeting with the School Management Committee, youth groups from local NGOs, community members, students and parents. But the Committee were unwilling to take any action.
On top of the indecisive School Management Committee, the teacher suddenly lodged a complaint through the local government administration against the participants and the youth groups they mobilised. The teacher claimed that the youth were fabricating the incident, disrespecting the teachers in South Charbiswash Government Primary School and inciting the female students to make false claims against the teachers.
The YFL participants decided that if they were to succeed they needed evidence. The YFL trainer from the Global Platform, who had been coaching and supporting them through their campaign, suggested to record interviews with the students who had been victims of corporal punishment.
After doing so, they again met the local administration, this time they mobilised the affected students, their parents, the media and the teachers’ union. They explained why corporal punishment is wrong and they shared their vision for the schools in the community; a place where young boys and girls are treated equally and a safe and secure learning environment is maintained for all.
THE POWER OF COLLECTIVE ACTION
The local administrator was convinced. He dismissed the complaint against the participants and ordered the teacher to step down from his position as a teacher. Afterwards the school authority requested that the administrator should give the teacher a second chance, on the condition that he signed a commitment letter to the school management committee and apologized to the hospitalized student, the YFL participants, parents and students for his behaviour and his false accusation against the campaign participants.
The teacher publically confessed verbally and in written form and unconditionally apologized. The Education Administration firmly ordered all the schools situated in the area not to practice any form of corporal punishment.