Dutch primary school teacher suspended after complaints of “caning”
A teacher at a Zaandam primary school has been put on indefinite leave while an investigation into physical and emotional abuse takes place. The investigation, which is being handled by an external agency, will look into the extent and legitimacy of the complaints.
Investigation into classroom abuse
The school board of a primary school in Zaandam, De Voorzaan, has had to hire an external agency to investigate the complaints from parents. The school received several complaints from parents on Thursday, September 19 about a third-grade teacher.
Children are alleged to have been caned, belittled by the teacher, made to eat off the floor and, if they were not listening, made to kneel. These allegations were submitted by around ten parents with children in Class 3C, which has around 30 students.
Not only has the teacher been placed on leave for the duration of the investigation but, a few days after the complaints were made, the director of De Voorzaan reportedly left on indefinite sick leave. The investigation is expected to conclude in November, “within two weeks of the autumn holiday.” The results will then be presented to the school board, Zaan Primair.
Response from the school staff
On September 23, Ruud Janssen joined the school as interim director and was keen to emphasise that the teacher has not been suspended for disciplinary reasons but to maintain order in the school. Speaking to the daily newspaper Het Parool, Janssen said: “Certainly something has happened that is unacceptable. But I can’t imagine corporal punishments being given.” He went on to say that the investigation is looking into the source of the allegations.
The board and management met on October 10 to discuss the situation. According to Janssen, none of the staff received signals of anything untoward happening in class 3C or reported any problems with the teacher. In a statement on the school's website, Janssen and the school board pledged to communicate both the results of the investigation and “further intentions to guarantee peace and security.”