A six-year-old girl lost part of her finger in a school toilet after another pupil slammed the door on her.
Zeah Dirks, who is in Grade 1 at Bokmakierie Primary near Athlone, lost the tip of her middle finger on her left hand last Wednesday.
The little girl’s mother, Louise Dirks, 37, says although she was shocked to see her child’s finger missing, she doesn’t blame the other pupil, who is also six.
Instead, she is unhappy at how the incident was handled by the school.
The little girl tells the Daily Voice the incident happened while she was trying to pick up money which had fallen on the floor: “We were in the toilet and when I leaned down to pick up the money, she slammed the door closed on my hand.
“I didn’t cry immediately, only when I saw the blood and I ran after the child.”
The child in question also spoke to the Daily Voice, and says it was an accident: “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
But an angry Louise believes her daughter’s finger could have been saved had the school followed “correct protocol”.
“The incident happened after 9am and the principal said they didn’t have my contact number,” says the mom.
“They sent for a relative at home to accompany the child to a local hospital.
“Eventually the child was transferred to Red Cross Children’s Hospital and they said they needed the part of the finger which broke off.
“I had to fetch the finger [from the school] the next day, but now my child has been scarred for life.
“That child must have slammed the door very hard to break her finger.”
Louise says she questioned the other girl.
“She said she was upset with my child because she didn’t want to be friends with her, but didn’t mean to hurt her,” says the mom.
“I have decided I will not open a case with police, but that counselling must be provided for both children.”
Jessica Shelver, the spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, says it was not a case of bullying: “I can confirm that a Grade 1 learner at Bokmakierie Primary School injured her finger on 8 March 2017 when the class went to the toilet as part of their daily routine.
“The injured learner was queueing to use the toilet when another learner accidentally closed the door on her finger.
“The principal reported the incident to the department.
“An investigation revealed that it was an accident and not a case of bullying.
“Therapeutic support will be provided to the learners, as required.”