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Abuse in Flemish primary schools under investigation

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An investigation has been launched into potentially abusive practices at Flemish primary schools after reports of children tied to their chairs or locked in a broom closet have come to light.

These reports come from various student-teacher testimonies of practices to discipline children seen during their internships, Het Nieuwsblad and Het Belang van Limburg report.

“We heard stories of children tied to a chair with duct tape or a belt,” said Elke Emmers, head of a research group at UC Leuven Limburg University of Applied Sciences that wants to map the phenomenon of ‘freedom-grabbing measures’ in primary education for the first time.

“Others had to stay in a dark storage room or a broom closet in the hall for a certain time. In miserable circumstances, among the cleaning products,” added Emmers.

The research aims to “put an end” to these practices, said Emmers. According to her, between five and 17 young people witnessed extreme practices during their internships in different elementary schools. These are often agitated children or children who contradict teachers.

“This may be related to the increasing pressure on education,” says Elke Emmers. “Behavioural problems are increasingly reported, classes are larger, while resources are limited.”

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times