The San Souci story is slowly drawing to a close, with the teacher having had her disciplinary hearing last Thursday and a verdict expected this week.
The story has truly divided Capetonians right down the middle; those who believe the girl deserved the klap through the face, and those who say the teacher was out of line.
In case this story has somehow passed you by, the video is just about everywhere.
It involves an altercation in class between a livid Grade 9 teacher and an equally angry pupil, who is taking exception at being told to put her phone away.
Yes, the video was being recorded on another student’s phone, but that’s a different story, which I am also curious about.
Anyway, there are angry words, the desk gets shoved, leading to what can only be described as a snotklap.
Everybody has an opinion on what happened, which they are willing to argue to death.
I found the only way I am able to give them pause for thought, is to ask them, “what if that was your daughter, would you still be sympathising with the teacher?”
They usually sidestep the question by saying something like, “well, my child would never be that rude, to begin with.”
But that’s not the point, is it?
We are quick to judge, but not so quick to fully understand a situation unless it affects us directly.
Then there are those who come to the defence of teachers, reminding us of what a tough job they have and how rude children can be these days.
But again, this is San Souci, and whether we like to admit it or not, it comes with a certain reputation and certain expectations.
This is not an overcrowded township school, where teachers are having to balance academics with the realities of the social ills right outside the school gates.
So while the argument is a valid one, it doesn’t apply to this incident.
The teacher is clearly very stressed out, but I suspect those are for entirely different reasons.
The teacher in question also had strong support from the school’s other learners, which is an interesting development that says a lot about the image the girl in question has among her peers.
All of these things are curious anecdotes and interesting side stories that serve only to distract from some of the undeniable facts.
As the only adult in the room, the teacher should have had better judgement, especially when it comes to a student with whom she has had a conflict before.
I would expect a teacher at a school like San Souci to have some conflict-resolution training so as to quickly de-escalate an explosive situation like that.
Besides, whether we agree or not, what the teacher did is against the law.
While provocation is not a defence in court, it definitely is a mitigating factor.
And while much of the blame lies with the teacher, fingers also need to be pointed at the school, the girl’s parents and society as a whole.
We are overlooking the bad behaviour of our children far too often these days.
The fact that this video even made it onto social media is an example of the entitlement with which we are raising our kids these days.
With the obvious exceptions, all children should be raised understanding that when an adult in a position of authority speaks to you, you do as you’re told and without back chatting.
A child who believes she can raise her voice, jump up and shove anything at a teacher in a threatening way, is going to have problems as an adult.
I am almost certain the young lady probably deals with her mother and other adult relatives in the same way.
And the school should’ve caught the tension much earlier and put steps in place to deal with both the teacher and the scholar.
Between home and school, we should be churning out relatively balanced and pleasant adults.
But that is in the ideal world, which we are very far from.
There is a lot of context and dynamics that make this a complex situation.
But - considering that we are dealing with a place of learning - I think the best possible outcome would be dialogue, apologies from both parties and using the incident as an example of how not to treat your teacher.
And how not to react when a scholar is being stubbornly disobedient.
Which, by the way, includes the one who took the video.