Boy battered

Main Stories, National


A TEACHER is facing manslaughter charges after he allegedly used a softball bat to bash a student, resulting in his death.
The deceased was a Grade Four student at a school near Mt Hagen, Western Highlands province.
Fourteen-year-old Samson Kuk died after allegedly being hit on the back with a softball bat.
Medical reports obtained suggest that Kuk’s death resulted from him being severely beaten.
Corporal punishment was outlawed from PNG schools in the late 1970s, making it a crime for a teacher to use a cane, leather strap or other implements to punish students.
The medical report said that after the incident, the student was noted to be suffering from pain in his arms and legs, so the school referred him to the hospital.
At the Mt Hagen General Hospital, the student, who had no previous medical problems, was said to have lung and hip infections when admitted on Oct 22.
Follow-up notes by health workers stated that Kuk had marked respiratory distress symptoms and was operated upon on Oct 25.
He died the next morning.
His death was put down as a case of severe septicaemia following lung and hip swelling.
The medical report also revealed that this had occurred because he had been beaten numerous times previously, mostly on the back. According to his father, Kuk Yaga, the child was beaten so badly that the night he went home, he was in pain and could not sleep.
Mr Yaga said his son, who was the class captain, had come home on many occasions complaining of being beaten, sometimes so badly that blisters were visible on his body.
He said his son told him that as class captain, he was also beaten up by other students who misbehaved in class.
Mr Yaga is planning on suing the teacher, the school and the Education Department for the death of his son.
He said the hospital would also be held partly responsible.
Provincial police commander, Supt Kaiglo Ambane, said from reports received, the teacher had beaten the student with a bat while he was trying to stop an argument between him and another classmate over a pen.
He said the teacher did not mean to cause the student any harm and that it was reasonable to discipline students, but teachers should remember that they were children.
He said the student died from internal injuries.
Supt Ambane said the suspect had escaped to his village, but police would arrest him soon.