Student Op-Ed: Stop school beatings

Some students in Uganda are struggling to learn in school because they are being beaten by their teachers and principals. These educators are traumatizing students. Some teachers flog students in schools, some teachers don’t care if their students get hurt. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.

In 2020, a teacher caned a 13-year old student to death after she failed her science test. In Uganda, students are more likely to be beaten by their teachers than by their own parents. Students can be beaten or whipped for many reasons. Some of the reasons include going to the bathroom and coming back late, being caught walking outside when the teacher is teaching, coming late to school or doing badly on a paper or exam.

When I was a student growing up in Uganda, I used to go to a private school. Often the private schools are more strict than the public schools, many have rules that if students come late, or talk too much, or talk too loud, a teacher can beat them or whip them. Almost every day I was disciplined by being beaten by my teachers and sometimes by my principal.

Many Ugandans believe that beating students in school as a way to discipline them, is normal. But children who are beaten are more likely to have lower grades in school or not want to come to school. There are some organizations working to help students be safe in school. End Violence is an organization in Uganda that is supporting students who are not being treated well in school. They are helping ensure children’s safety at school, giving them protection. They don’t want students to be whipped to death. They believe that ensuring students are protected is a good way to protect them from being violated by teachers.

A Ugandan NGO called Raising Voices created the “Good School Toolkit.” In a survey they did in 2005 more than half of the students they asked said they had been hurt by their teachers. The toolkit helps make students, staff and administrators accountable to each other. It teaches ideas about children’s rights and it gives teachers different ways to discipline.

I think there should be better laws in Uganda that say teachers are not allowed to beat students, like the laws in the United States that protect students. Another idea is to install cameras in schools to help keep an eye on students and teachers to make sure nothing bad is happening and teachers aren’t doing anything bad to students. Another idea is for an organization to create a website where students could share what is happening in schools and what teachers are doing so the governments would find out and could help stop violence in Uganda schools.

Students don’t need to be whipped or beaten by the teachers to learn or get educated in Uganda. Instead teachers should talk and work with students and encourage them like in American schools. This could help students achieve their dreams.

Amos Mugisha, 17, was born in Uganda. He is a sophomore at Lowell High School. He likes to spend time with friends and to work out. When he grows up he wants to explore new cities.

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