Date: 23 October 2008
Time: 13:20 GMT
Student Falls from 3rd Floor of a School;
PCHR Calls for the Results of Investigation into the Incidents to be Published
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Ministry of Education to publish the results of an investigation into the fall of a student, 16-year-old Arafat Nemer al-Sawaf, from the third floor of al-Shafei Secondary School in Gaza City. PCHR also demands that the Ministry protect and promote childrens rights to education, and does its utmost to combat aspects of violence and degrading treatment used against children.
At approximately 10:50 on Saturday, 18 October, Arafat Namer al-Sawaf, a 10th-grade student, fell from the 3rd floor of al-Shafei Secondary School in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza City. He was swiftly admitted into the intensive care unit at Shifa Hospital in the city as he had sustained fractures to the skull and the chest, and heavy bruising. He subsequently fell into a coma. Arafat fell from the third floor whilst attempting to run away from his teacher, apparently fearing he would be beaten due to his behavior in the classroom. As a result of his behaviour, the teacher had asked ‘Arafat to go the headmasters office. According to medical sources, ‘Arafat is under constant observation and the process of his transfer to an Israeli hospital may endanger his life.’
According to two of Arafats school colleagues, they saw Arafat fleeing from the teacher after leaving his classroom on the 2nd floor. According to these two students, ‘Arafat climbed the iron bars on the side of the stairs leading to the 3rd floor, but his feet became stuck in between the bars, he lost balance and fell. In the meantime, his teacher was heading towards the headmasters office. One of the two students also said that he visited Arafat on the following day, and Arafat told him that he had lost his balance whilst attempting to escape from the teacher.
According to Arafats brother, Nemer, who studies at the same school, the incident is related to a previous problem his brother had with the same teacher due to issues of behaviour, for which ‘Arafat had been punished by the headmaster a few days earlier.
According to information obtained by PCHR, the teacher has been suspended and the Ministry of Education has launched an investigation into the incident. The police have also opened an investigation into the incident as a complaint was submitted against the teacher. The police investigation is continuing.
In light of the above:
1) PCHR expresses its deep regret for this incident, and calls upon all concerned bodies to publish the results of investigations into the incident once concluded and to punish whoever found responsible.
2) PCHR calls for promotion of the education through the training teachers to combat violence, as well as ensuring that no teacher is allowed to assume the responsibilities of his/her job before being educationally trained and rehabilitated in accordance with relevant international human rights standards that protect and promote the right of children and their education.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893
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