A nine-year-old Ahwazi Arab boy was reportedly beaten with a thick plastic rod and abused by an his sports teacher for playing football with friends without his kit on.
The nine-year-old student was left with bruises and marks on his palms, neck and back as a result of the attack which took place on 3 November in Iran’s Shekareh district in the Kot Abdullah County.
His parents, who shared the photos of their son’s injuries anonymously on social media, voiced frustration and anger, saying that they had photographed their son’s injuries to show what Ahwazi children endure at school, adding that they fear the regime-controlled local authorities would be more likely to punish their son and them for speaking out than to take action against the teacher.
The teacher, identified as Naeem Zadeh, beat the boy, a sixth-grade pupil in his class in the Shaheed Ayat elementary school in the Shekareh district of Kot Abdullah County near the regional capital Ahwaz, so badly that his parents reported he had nightmares and was too scared to go to school for three days.
The boy’s parents said that when their son returned home from school on Sunday he was crying and it took some time to calm him before he showed them the injuries he’d sustained.
They said he explained that during PE class the teacher had ordered him to sit at the side of the football pitch because he had forgotten his shorts and gym kit. He did so, but when the teacher was called away for a phone call in the school office, the boy played with his friends on the pitch. When the teacher returned and saw this, the boy said, he flew into a rage and called the child over, verbally abusing him with racist language and using a thick plastic rod to cane him on both palms before beating him on his back, neck and chest.
Though the family have been urged to take legal action against the teacher they fear authorities will indict as a result of what activists report as ingrained racism in the Iranian legal process against Arab communities.
Karim Dohimi, an former Ahwazi teacher now based in London, said: “Such behaviour is, unfortunately, commonplace in the Arab cities since the Iranian regime has deliberately recruited racist teachers in its schools for decades in its efforts to eradicate Ahwazi culture.”
Now in Canada, former Ahwazi teacher Mostafa Hetteh added: “There are several reasons behind some teachers beating and torturing student. But, undoubtedly, the main reason is that those teachers have impunity, so they pay no heed to any law.”
“If the teacher beats students, the education department will do nothing but issue a verbal warning to the teacher. If he’s supposed to be punished, he’ll just be moved to another school.”