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Children slapped, humiliated by teacher in Sicily

Elementary school teacher hit so hard marks left on students

28 January, 14:21
Children slapped, humiliated by teacher in Sicily (ANSA) - Palermo, January 28 - A teacher in Sicily has been suspended for allegedly slapping and humiliating elementary school-age students he considered "unruly," while encouraging other youngsters to join in the mocking.

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.