Amuria, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A 20-year-old student of Amuria High School in Amuria district is battling a spinal cord injury after he was allegedly beaten by the teacher.
Abraham Obadia, who was in senior- five last year is currently admitted at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital where he has been hospitalized for almost three months.
Obadia was reportedly beaten by his teacher identified as Samuel Opio on September 26, 2023, when he delayed attending the morning lessons.
Since then, Obadia has been unable to sit or walk by himself. He has been to different private orthopedic hospitals before returning to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.
Obadia told URN at his hospital bed that the teacher beat him in the waist as he was lying down leading to an instant paralysis.
He says that after the beating, his teacher noticed the change in his body and managed to buy him pain relievers but the condition worsened, prompting his family to pick him up from school.
Dr. Billy Outeke, one of the doctors managing Obadia at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital says that the student’s condition might require a back surgery if there’s no improvement in the next few days.
He notes that the nerve supplying blood got suppressed due to the injury on the waist. He, however, notes that they are observing the condition for the next two to three weeks to be able to decide on the next cause of action.
Meanwhile, Joseph Opolon, the father of Obadia says that his child’s condition has crippled the family’s financial stand after costing the family land.
He notes that since he picked up the boy from school in October last year, the school has not been able to help in any way.
“I have gone to the school four times to seek help for the treatment of my son but no response. Instead, the school is protecting the teacher and frustrating every effort to have my son treated,” he said.
Opolon further says that he is currently stuck with hospital bills after selling all that he could raise money to cover the previous expenses.
Paul Omoit, one of the students who was reportedly beaten together with Obadia says that the fellow students who watched the beating couldn’t believe what happened to their classmate when he suddenly failed to walk out of the class.
Omoit says that his friend didn’t have any health complications known to them before the beating.
Our reporter visited the school on Monday to seek a comment from the school administration and management but all the officers found in the school declined to comment on the matter.
The Amuria District Education Officer, Kelen Acom told our reporter on phone that she was not aware of the incident.
URN has learned that Samuel Opio, the teacher who reportedly caned the student was arrested under the reference number 19/24/11/2023 of Amuria CPS but released on bond.
Obadia, who was offering Mathematics, Entrepreneur, Agriculture, and ICT is uncertain of resuming his studies this year since he is crippled.
Abraham Obadia’s case raises questions about the effectiveness of the laws banning corporal punishment in schools in Uganda.
Corporal punishment is illegal is illegal in Uganda. However, a national survey on violence against children found that 75% of children report being beaten in class Save the Children has over the years noted that Corporal punishment violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Uganda has signed and committed to upholding.
The Children Act CAP. 59 bans corporal punishment and calls for the protection of children from all forms of violence. Save the Children has however noted that many teachers and parents, especially in rural areas, are not even aware of this.
It has further noted that Teachers suspected of abuse are often just moved to another school or find a way of silencing the abused children and their families, rather than be punished and held accountable.
According to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, school corporal punishment is incompatible with the Convention on the Rights of the Child Corporal punishment of children breaches their rights to respect for human dignity and physical integrity and to equal protection under the law.