President Maithripala Sirisena this week justified instances where teachers and principals lose their temper and beat students, while urging parents of students to rethink and reevaluate a situation before going to the police and to courts seeking action against such teachers.
Speaking at the ‘Guru Prathibha Pranama Ulela’ teacher commemoration event on Wednesday at the Nelum Pokuna, Sirisena said, “human rights, fundamental rights, freedom, democracy are beautiful words and are also necessities for society. But, these are granted to improve society, and to define society and not to be misused,” he said.
“But what has happened today? when a teacher gives a child a small knock, canes the child, the child complaints to the parents, and the parents go to police and then to courts. But as fathers we know how difficult it is to bring up children. As a father I know what a difficult task this is,” Sirisena said.
“Then imagine how difficult it is for a teacher to manage a classroom full of 40 to 50 students, and equally how difficult it is for a principal to manage a school that has several thousand students,” Sirisena said.
The President said that it was important for everyone to understand that even teachers and principals are average human beings. “They also have flesh, blood and veins running through them and there are times they too can lose their temper. So as much as freedom and rights are important, even parents need to see things from the perspective of a teacher,” Sirisena said.
He also recalled how he was severely caned when he was in school because the Principal mistook him as the child who was behind a classroom ruckus. “The principal took me to his office, and caned me till the cane broke. While he was caning me I was wondering why he was hitting me. But even if I went home and told my parents that I was caned, they would have taken the principal’s side saying I was caned because I was up to no good,” Sirisena added.