Children slapped, humiliated by teacher in Sicily
Elementary school teacher hit so hard marks left on students28 January, 14:21
An investigation, triggered by an angry parent, has heard that students were sometimes slapped so hard that the teacher's ring left a mark on the child's skin.
Other times, students were forced to stand in front the class, facing a wall or the blackboard, while others jeered, as a form of punishment.
The teacher, at an elementary school in the town of Palazzo Adriano near Palermo, also punished students by forcing them to stay out on a balcony or serve detention in a closet, at times risking the youngsters' safety.
Reports of students being beaten or otherwise abused have cropped up before around Italy.
A teacher who taped three of her students' mouths shut was cleared of abuse charges late last year by a court that ruled she was simply playing a kind of game.
Angela Baraldi was using an unusual teaching method that involved a game where noisy students were quieted by use of adhesive tape, the court found in the case dating from the 2011-2012 school year. In June, a teacher and a social worker who were arrested in April for having humiliated and beaten a 15-year-old autistic student were officially fired. The pair's actions hit the headlines after regional newspaper Corriere del Veneto posted on its website a video showing the two adults slapping a student and calling him an "animal" and a "pig".
The adults being filmed were heard threatening to break the student's head with a stick.
And hidden cameras in the classroom helped prosecutors to arrest a pre-school teacher for abusing students early last year.
That teacher was accused of slapping, kicking, and pushing around children in her care in a school in San Costantino Calabro in southern Italy.