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Students share disturbing memories of abuse. Is it an everyday occurrence?

Students share disturbing memories of abuse. Is it an everyday occurrence?

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
15.03.2024 12:30

The story of a girl from the Lubelskie voivodeship, whose teacher snipped off the rosy ends of her hair, stirred controversy. It turns out that quite a few students remember equally (or even more) hair-raising tales from their school days.

An incident unfolded at a primary school in Podhorce, Lubelskie voivodeship, that quickly made waves across both traditional and social media. It all began when one of the pupils decided to dip-dye her hair pink. However, things took an unexpected turn when the teacher allegedly snipped off the colourful ends with a pair of scissors. The headmistress reported the situation to the school superintendent in Lublin and informed the Parents’ Council. Yet, despite the uproar, the teacher remained in her role.

Many people have unpleasant memories of teachers’ behaviour

The girl's coloured hair was said to breach the school's statutes. According to the umarlestatuty.pl website, Article 99(3) of the Education Act allows statutes to outline dress code rules for pupils on school premises. However, the interpretation of "dress code" rules usually extends beyond mere attire, encompassing a student’s overall appearance.

The high-profile case from Podhorce sparked a flurry of comments on social media, shedding light on teachers' sometimes drastic behaviour towards primary school pupils. Under the @thepolandnews_ post, one user shared a personal memory: "In primary school, I was once hit with a hardcover book from behind by a nun, all because I was chatting with a classmate."

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Many unpleasant stories from primary schools concern catechists

The thread is exceptionally full of allegations against catechists. One commenter wrote: "In the fourth year of primary school, I accidentally put a Harry Potter book on the Bible for literally a moment as I was taking something out of my backpack. The catechist reacted with a lecture about how I put 'Satan' above God, and told me I should burn in hell, and that I should confess to it". Another user recalled: "The catechist in my primary school told me to throw my pencil cases in the rubbish bin because, according to her, there were signs of Satan on them [...]. I had a pencil case with Hello Kitty and a unicorn drawing".

Another commentator recalled: "Mine used to tell us that if we don't believe in God, we'll get run over by a bus because God won't protect us if we don't believe in him". Another remembered that: "In primary school, the priest used to beat our backs or rub our ears for talking. When he was in a better mood, he made us kneel under the blackboard". It is worth noting that the requirement for catechists to have pedagogical training has only been in force since 2017.

According to students, teachers aggression is common

As it turned out, the case with the teacher reaching for the scissors is not isolated. One commentator reported: "A friend of mine had her fringe cut by the Polish language teacher in primary school as well. She didn't have a bobby pin and kept pulling her hair back. Irritated by her behaviour, the teacher grabbed her hair and cut the fringe halfway down her forehead."

X users clearly state that such classroom incidents are prevalent in some schools. One user wrote: "At our school, the German language teacher threw chalk at us, and the history teacher hit my colleague in the head with a nature atlas". There were also comments along the lines of "It happened to me too, and I'm alive". One commenter wrote: "I was thrown with a chocolate bar by a history teacher for talking. A bit of blood poured from the scratch, but there was no drama".

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