A student in Lahore has lost his life due to the alleged use of corporal punishment in a private school. The teacher involved in the incident has been known to hit students, especially on the head, and has also been suspended before for similar activities. According to the first information report (FIR), Hafiz Hunain Bilal, a student of class 10, was “tortured” by his teacher for not memorising his lesson properly. He was being asked to memorise the lesson word for word for two days and upon facing difficulty to do so, was met with this behavior.

This is a complete misuse of authority on part of the teachers appointed by any school. The use of corporal punishment should be completely banned and in case, a person resorts to corporal punishment, he/she should be punished for it according to the law. At this point, there are two charges against the teacher in question. A case has been registered by the police on behalf of the boy’s father under Sections 302 (punishment of qatl-i-amd) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

There is a desperate need to introduce educational reforms that not only include an improved syllabus but also teaches a two-way stream of etiquettes. While the position of a teacher is automatically empowered and a person who adopts the role must be respected, the same respect should be offered to the students as well. The punishment now offered to the alleged beater should set an example for anyone who deems it alright to beat students for making petty mistakes, i.e. not being able to memorise their lessons. At the same time, the schools should be held at a great responsibility for such acts. The administration is one of the main reasons why such a behaviour perpetuates. The school in question this time, American Lycetuff, has not issued a statement till now, either accepting the incident or apologising for it.

If such a behaviour is emerging from decent private sector schools, then the situation is pretty alarming. The government should not only mobilise its teams to bring proper protocols in place, but it should also find a mechanism for rehabilitating students who witness such trauma. It is not acceptable for students at such a susceptible age to be witnessing such brutal use for force for very petty matters.