Morocco Investigates Taroudant Teacher for Alleged Child Abuse

Blurry image of Mariam, the victim of physical abuse

Rabat – The Ministry of Education has released a statement on the child abuse case unfolding in Taroudant, southern Morocco. 

According to the statement, the ministry’s regional directorate in the city has ordered an investigation into the case of Meriem, a little Amazigh (Berber) girl who has suffered serious physical abuse. The investigation is ongoing.

The statement comes after photos of Meriem went viral on social media, stirring backlash among internet users.

The story of  Meriem has also divided public opinion, with some people claiming that her teacher subjected her to violent abuse, while others blame the child’s mother.

The little girl allegedly admitted that it was her mother who abused her.

In a recent video, Meriem appeared talking to local media. In the footage, she described the incident in Tamazight (Berber language).

“It is the teacher who abused me. He hit me on the head and hands with a tube,” the little girl said.

She said the teacher hit her because she could not do maths.

In its recent statement, the ministry outlined that the viral footage of the child and the reports in online news outlets prompted the intervention.

“We spoke to the principal of the school, who talked to the educator about the incident,” the Education directorate wrote in the statement.

The teacher, according to the press release, denied the accusations against him. He claimed that the mother of the child is responsible for the physical abuse.

The directorate has launched an investigation into the issue of abuse in schools and is determined to hold those responsible for the violence to account.

The school’s principal reported the incident to the royal gendarmerie in the region who have opened an investigation to find the perpetrator.

The family has also filed a lawsuit against the teacher.

The regional directorate, the statement added, will continue its own investigation and it is determined to find out who was responsible for the abuse.

In a video, Meriem’s said that the teacher had hit his daughter in the head.

“We found bruises on her forehead and when her mother cleaned her head with hot water, her eyes pumped up. She woke up with closed eyes the following day,” he told the camera.

Meriem’s father claimed that the teacher had admitted to beating up the little girl.

“I am suffering with bad nerves, he told us,” Meriem’s father went on.

It is not the first time that he has beaten up a student, the father claimed.

He added that he had received a call from a municipal employee who had told him his wife was responsible for the abuse.

“Why would a mother do this to her child? it is the teacher,” he said.

Meriem’s sister supported her father’s statement, emphasizing that her sister was abused by the teacher. Meriem has undergone an x-ray to determine the severity of her injuries.

The Penal Code punishes beatings, injuries, violence, assaults committed against a child under the age of 15 with one to three years imprisonment (Article 408).

The use of physical violence or insults against students has been banned in Morocco since 1999. In a note (n° 807/99 of September 23, 1999) Ismail El Alaoui, then Minister of National Education, urged teachers to “avoid using any form of physical or psychological violence against pupils.”