Prosecutors in Damietta, the Nile Delta governorate, issued the arrest of the teacher who was accused of bullying his student during class for being dark skinned for four days pending further investigations.
Basmala Ali is a student in eight grade at Martyr Jamal Saber Preparatory School. Her Arabic teacher, Samy Deyab, called her “black” during a class exercise when he asked the students to grammatically analyze the sentence ‘Basmala is a black student’. The young girl instantly started crying.
Ali’s mother instantly filed an official complaint to the local education administration about the incident in order to start an administrative investigation and him transferred to another school.
According to Ahram online, Deyab is charged with “bullying and deviation from the requirements of job duty.”
However, in a TV interview, Deyab dismissed the accusations and instead used the expression “dark-skinned”. He continued to say that he would not dare to degrade the girl for her deep skin color because he himself is dark-skinned. The Teachers Syndicate chapter in Damietta has appointed the teacher a legal representation.
The student’s family agreed to waive the criminal case in the case on this morning after a number of leaders of the Directorate of Education, the Teachers’ Syndicate and the members of the boards of trustees of educational departments intervened to prevent further imprisonment of the teacher.
Ali’s mother, confirmed in a statement to Masrawi that the approval of the waiver was out of respect for the teacher’s age, stressing she will follow-up the ongoing investigations by the administrative prosecution.
The mother highlighted that her daughter was subjected to humiliation and psychological pressure from the incident. She said that the waiver of the criminal section does not mean in any way the innocence of the teacher.
Bullying incidents have been rising in Egyptian schools. Earlier this week, Iman Saleh, an 18-year-old student at the Gamal Abdel Nasser Institute of Health Technician in Alexandria, committed suicide by throwing herself out of the fourth floor of the institute.
Amina’s mother, Amina Abdel Aziz, said in a telephone conversation on the DMC evening program that three female supervisors at the health institute abused her daughter and ridiculed her skin colour, hair and shape, saying that she looks “like a boy”.
In September, Egypt’s first national anti-bullying campaign was launched under the auspices of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) and in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MOETE), with the cooperation of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the funding of the European Union (EU).
The campaign lasted fro a month and was sending advice and tips to children, teachers and parents through digital platforms on ways to counter bullying.
It was an online and offline campaign that used broadcast and social media as well as several outdoor awareness billboards seen around Egypt encouraging students to share their stories though the hashtag #IamAgainstBullying.
The step comes after a recent study conducted by UNICEF and NCCM, which revealed that 29-47% of children aged 13-17 reported that physical violence among peers was common.
UNICEF also found that the latest global data showed that 1 in 3 students aged 13-15 around the world experience bullying. According to the report, girls are more likely to experience a from of psychological forms of bullying, while boys are more likely to be victims of physical violence.