Teacher convicted for breaking student's arm

A primary school teacher has been convicted and given a 12 months probationary sentence for causing actual bodily harm to a student, which led to him suffering a broken arm from the incident.

Kitiona Mulifusi from Sapunaoa Primary School was convicted by District Court Judge, Alalatoa Rosella Viane-Papalii on Thursday.

Judge Alalatoa stressed to Mulifusi that the law does not allow primary school teachers to use reasonable force on the students.

“The exemption is for Secondary School teachers…,” she added.

In sentencing the teacher, the Judge warned him against using force to discipline young students that he should be teaching and nurturing.

“If you reoffend within 12 months you will be sent to jail to serve the remaining time [of probationary sentence],” she said.

Mulifusi pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm to a young student from Sapunaoa Primary School in May last year.

He allegedly used a stick to beat up the student and struck him on the arm which led to him sustaining a broken arm.

Mulifusi claimed that he was merely disciplining the primary school students who got into a fight.  

The court heard that this not the first time the teacher had beaten up the student.

“His parents can no longer trust you and you have breached that trust,” said Judge Alalatoa.

“You should be teaching the students and nurturing them, not abusing them.

“The message you are sending the children is that it’s okay to hit another person and when they grow up they will see that as being acceptable because this is the environment that you have fostered in them.”

Judge Alalatoa told the teacher that just because the law says that reasonable force can be used, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to allow him to abuse students.

“The exemption is that [reasonable force] can only be used by secondary school teachers,” she added.

She pointed out that the offending has impacted the student who has being traumatised and affected mentally and spiritually.

“You were trusted by the parents to teach them student and to ensure they are safe,” she said.

Furthermore, she noted that the family of the student had asked the court to withdraw the matter and the families reconcile.

Judge Alalatoa said she is careful to use her discretion to withdraw cases as this can be appealed by the prosecution.

Prosecutor is Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Iliganoa Atoa while Mulifusi was not represented by a lawyer.

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