Prosecution refers teacher to criminal trial for bullying student with disabilities in Cairo

Ahram Online , Friday 17 Dec 2021

Egypt’s Public Prosecution referred a teacher to criminal trial for bullying a student with disabilities in an inclusion classroom in the Shubra district of Cairo.

Egypt s Public Prosecution s headquarters in Cairo. FILE
Egypt s Public Prosecution s headquarters in Cairo. FILE

The teacher “verbally abused [the student], using phrases through which she aimed to put him down and make a mockery of him in his social surrounding during class,” the prosecution said in a statement on Thursday.

The student’s father issued a complaint to the prosecution accusing the teacher of bullying his son after he asked to sit down in a desk at the front of the classroom.

“The teacher refused, ostracised him, mocked him in front of his colleagues, and then punished him by directing him to the school’s headmistress,” the prosecution added.

The teacher denied the accusations, claiming that she scolded the student for coming to class late and that she directed him to the headmistress after he threatened to speak to his parents.

Ezz El-Din Sherif, the 13-year-old student, suffers from an intellectual disability, severe visual impairment, and a congenital eye defect, according to a complaint filed to the public prosecution by lawyer Heba Mostafa earlier this week.

In remarks to the Al-Shorouk private newspaper after the prosecution’s decision, Mostafa said she filed the complaint against the teacher as well as the headmistress.

The teacher called the student “dumb and blind,” when he asked to move to a desk at the front of the classroom and sent him to the headmistress, Mostafa said.

The headmistress then detained the student in her office and obliged him to clean the floor and wash cups as a punishment then beat the child for accidentally breaking one of the cups, Mostafa claims.

The prosecution’s decision to refer the teacher to trial is a positive step to deter those bullying people with disabilities, Mostafa added.

In October, the Egyptian House of Representatives approved a legislative amendment that toughens penalties against bullying persons with disabilities, raising the maximum sentence to five years in prison.

The number of people with disabilities in Egypt surpasses 10 million, according to figures of the state’s statistical agency (CAPMAS), Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj said in December last year.

Egypt also has more than 108,000 disabled students in inclusion classrooms nationwide, the education ministry said earlier this month.

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