Condemning an incident of a teacher beating children in a schoolyard in Idlib city and appealing for broader accountability for the teacher and administration

A video clip shared online shows a number of young children being beaten in the yard of a school by a member of the school staff using an implement which we believe was a hose. Visual analysis of this clip and accounts from some parents show that the school in question is the ‘Bara’em First Model School’ in Idlib city, which is administratively affiliated with the Directorate of Education in Idlib governorate, which is under the control of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham. The incident took place during the period dedicated to students in the second stage grouping. SNHR believes that the incident took place at the beginning of April 2021; on April 7, 2021, the Directorate of Education made the proper decision to dismiss the school staff member responsible for beating the children from his job.

This video proves, however, that the phenomenon of the physical abuse of children is widespread in the school and tolerated by the school administration. If this were not the case, the teacher would not be able to inflict this act of torture in daylight in the schoolyard against this number of children, some of whom can be heard screaming in fear, and to do so in front of the administration and other teachers without any apparent concern over the possibility of being reprimanded for his actions. We believe that if this video had not been recorded, no action would have been taken against the abusive teacher.

SNHR condemns any physical or other abuse of children within any educational centers, in this or other schools in northwestern Syria or elsewhere, which is a blatant violation of both the convention on the rights of the child and the convention against torture.  We call not only for  the teacher’s dismissal, but also insist that judicial and social accountability be extended to the school’s administration, naming and exposing the perpetrator and accomplices responsible for this dangerous phenomenon which became extinct many years ago in those societies which respect the most basic principles of human rights, and which are aware of the negative impact of these practices, firstly on children’s psyches and development and on their families, and secondly on wider society. 

The majority of children in northwestern Syria are already traumatised by forcible displacement and have not yet recovered from the ramifications of losing their homes and being separated from their families’ original locations, in addition to having suffered bereavement, dispersal of family and friends, and poverty which disproportionately affects the entire displaced population. School is supposed to be an ideal environment for the protection, positive development and rehabilitation of children and the strengthening of their self-confidence, teaching them not to resort to violence and instilling a principle of advocacy through dialogue. 

Video shows children being beaten in ‘Bara’em First Model’ School in Idlib city at the beginning of April 2021