The student had mispronounced a word in his assembly speech 

Education: A 17-year-old student of Yangchen Gatshel Lower Secondary School in Chamgang, Thimphu has been complaining of being unable to hear properly in his left ear for over two weeks now.

The school principal is alleged to have battered the student on August 3.

Narrating the incident, which led to his hearing problem, the class VIII student said he was delivering the morning speech and towards the end, he mispronounced the word ‘conclusion.’

Then the principal then and there told the student to redeliver the speech as it’s done for any student who makes mistakes in their speeches. The student, said he, tried explaining to the principal that it was not his turn for the speech but he delivered it in place of a friend who was absent that day.

“Accusing me for arguing with him, he punched me on the left ear twice and another punch hit me just above the ear,” he said. “Although it does not hurt now, I can not hear properly.”

He was battered in front of the whole school during the morning assembly.  Two days later, his parents were called to the school and he was asked to write a statement stating that whatever happened on August 3 was his fault.

The student’s sister, who went to see the principal, said that the principal complained about her brother for misbehaving with him and disrespecting him.

She said, they had to accept what the principal said and did not approach the National Commission For Women and Child or the police for help fearing damage of the student’s reputation in the school since he will be completing class VIII this year.

“We thought it was just a matter of three more months but now if he loses his hearing, we can not just remain quite,” she said.

Eyewitnesses said many students in the past made mistakes while delivering speeches but the way principal reacted on that day was extreme.

“The principal battered him brutally and we could do nothing but watch in shock,” an eyewitness said.

Another eyewitness said that the student was held by the gho on the chest and pushed.

“According to the school’s disciplinary rules, punishment to students depend on the degree of offence,” the eyewitness said. “But the punishment the boy was meted with was way too much than his offence.”

On the afternoon of the incident, the student was sent to Thimphu referral hospital after he complained about severe pain in the left ear. While the doctor had sent him for a machine-hearing test, the student gave the test and went home without reviewing the report with the ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist.

Doctors at the ENT department said, although physical examination did not show signs of sever damage to the ear, a machine examination is must to confirm if there was an eardrum rupture leading to hearing problems.

Meanwhile, the principal, Tshering Womling said the student did not just mispronounce words during the speech but pronounced them abusively.

He added that the student showed temper after which he pushed him and hit him once on the head. He claimed that he did not hit him on the ear.

Nirmala Pokhrel