What was known to parents as a computer class at Montessori Primary School in Brooklyn turned ugly, with children as young as 9 watching women “twerking”.
The teacher tasked with educating the children in computers allegedly exposed them to pictures of naked people on the internet.
This shocking revelation was made by livid parents who said their children had been left traumatised by the experience.
One of the parents, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her child, said her 11-year-old daughter refused to go to school and asked to drop out of computer class. Her chronic asthma was worse because of the trauma, the mother said.
“She is in Grade 4, and everything was going well with the computer class. My daughter never complained about it and always looked forward to learning something new,” she said.
Red flags were raised when one day her daughter went home from school with a torn shirt. When asked what had happened, the girl told her mom she had tried to to escape from her computer teacher, who wanted her to “twerk”.
It is understood that the implicated computer teacher had been used as a substitute for the computer teacher who left in March.
The teacher, according to the parents, had been hired as a “favour” the principal was doing for his mother, as she was complaining that he did not want to go to school.
He was, the parents said, offered the computer class teaching position to while away time.
The pupils have alleged that before lessons started, the teacher, who the parents said was not even qualified, used to huddle the children around his laptop and instructed them to watch raunchy sex videos with numerous women twerking, and showing their private parts.
After showing them the videos, which lasted more than 10 minutes, he would then ask the class if they wanted to be like the girls in the video.
Those who said they did were asked to demonstrate by twerking.
He lambasted those who refused, according to the parent, telling them they were “falling behind and old-fashioned”.
The matter was reported to the school as soon the parents found out.
“As a result the school felt the only thing it could do was to fire him without any proper processes being followed.
“We have spoken to the principal who is also the owner of the school, and all she could say was that she was sorry. “Also, that she could not foresee that the kids would be exposed to pornography; to date she has not made contact,” another parent said.
The parents of the pre-teens were, however, unhappy with the perceived lack of action taken by the school authorities. Another parent said her 9-yearold Grade 2 daughter could not stop speaking about the videos.
“She kept on saying ‘mom, the teacher was showing us videos on how to twerk’. She tells everyone about this story. That’s how much it has affected her,” said the parent.
She added that for the amount of money that they were paying, they thought their children were safe from such illicit behaviour.
Another parent, whose daughter is also in Grade 2, said her daughter imitated the moves without being aware of their implication. “Kids are kids; they absorb what is being taught to them whether good or bad. “My poor angel is now twerking,” said the disturbed parent. “I want something done. My heart goes out to not only my daughter, but all the other kids in the classroom.”
On realising that nothing was being done by the school, the parents blew the whistle on the video-watching to the police last week.
Police in Brooklyn confirmed that a case had been opened against the teacher, and a warrant of arrest issued. But twice he was not found at his place of residence, they said.
School principal Estelle Freimond said that the incident was still under investigation and she thus could not comment. “Let justice take its course; until then I cannot comment,” she said.
The parents have since lodged a complaint with the South African Montessori Association and the South African Council of Educators.
Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said they would interact with the parents and provide assistance accordingly.
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