We at American School of Kuwait Reviews have begun work on a series of posts on the topic of child abuse. Our intentions are as follows:

  1. Discuss child abuse in Kuwait in general
  2. Discuss child abuse at the American School of Kuwait, in particular
  3. Discuss solutions and ways in which every member of a school community can help.

Today we’re going to continue from our previous post (click here), which summarized child abuse statistics in Kuwait. This post will also continue one of our very first posts (click here), which provided some basic information about reporting child abuse and providing safe spaces.

In the past five years, ASK has removed more than one teacher who was accused of improper conduct with students by either students or by their parents. The teacher would typically be removed from Kuwait within 24 hours. They were usually told that they could fight the accusations in court if they wanted, but that it would safer and more expedient to just leave the country. In some cases, this was the end of it – in other cases ASK then called the future employers of these teachers so that they lost their new jobs.

Child protection is important, but ASK is circumventing due process by handling issues these ways. There are four possible scenarios:

  1. The accused teacher is guilty.
    • If ASK  does not report them to recruiting agencies or future employers, then they have released a child abuser with no criminal record and have effectively circumvented the proper legal system.
    • If ASK does report them, then they will not teach again, but there will still be no legal record of their actions and they may be able to pursue other career options that could put children at risk.
  2. The accused teacher is not guilty.
    • If ASK does not report them, then they have effectively assisted this teacher in avoiding a hassle.
    • If ASK does report them, then they have ended the career of an innocent teacher and prevented them from finding gainful employment in the future even though they have done nothing wrong.

It is our assertion that Wael Abdul Ghafoor, Becky Ness, and other administrators at ASK are not the appropriate people to make these decisions, and that the way these cases have been handled is totally unethical and inappropriate. When you live and work in a country, you need to do so within the legal parameters of that country. ASK needs to stop circumventing Kuwaiti law.

We would, however, like to point out that there is some disagreement among the writers at ASK Reviews about how the school should properly handle such situations. Some feel that because “due process” in Kuwait is not as rigorous as it is in other western countries, that this can be a dangerous path to follow. The system of wasta (if you don’t know what wasta is, then do some significant research before accepting a job in this region of the world) does not always lead itself to expedience or even fairness when it comes to legal matters. This is a point that all prospective employees at the American School of Kuwait, or any other school in Kuwait, should consider thoughtfully before accepting a contract. There are numerous stories in the news of westerners being arrested and many involve unfair treatment and poor prison conditions.(Click here. here. here. here. here. here. here. or here.)

Even more appalling is the fact that while they have removed from Kuwait several teachers only due to accusations, the school continues to employee a teacher who has been reported multiple times both physically and verbally abusing children.

***Alert: The remainder of this post contains graphic language.***

***Alert: The remainder of this post contains graphic language.***

***Alert: The remainder of this post contains graphic language.***

We have been collecting evidence of the above statement since the blog was founded. We have so far collected more than 5 letters from multiple teachers indicated that a teacher who has been at the school since 2004 has whipped students with a keychain as a form of punishment on multiple occasions. In these letters, it is indicated that this was done with physical force, and not done gently or playfully. This teacher has also been reported calling students “fucking faggots” and “pussies.” Our records indicate this happened both on campus and on field trips, including sporting events that took place on international trips.

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If this behavior took place in a western school, the teacher would lose certification and face legal charges. At the American School of Kuwait, this person lost their position as a department chair and was allowed to continue working with children on a daily basis. His behavior has continued, as evidenced by the facts that the letters we collected span more than 3 school years. The letters were written to multiple administrators, including the superintendent, the high school principal, the elementary principal, and the high school guidance counselor who will become the high school principal next school year. When this many administrators know about abusive and illegal behavior and do not take appropriate action, then they have become complicit in the behavior.

Parents and teachers need to stand up against this and insist that behavior like this be handled appropriately in the future. You should document all contact that you have with administration about this type of behavior. If you see a student being physically hurt, we suggest that you also contact the police or the child protection hotline:

Child Protection Hotline: Dial 147


This post addresses the following parts of our mission statement and beliefs:

  • Educate the ASK community about current events at the school.
  • Encourage members of the ASK community to become more active in pushing the school to enact positive change in order to create and inspire a positive school environment for all members of the community.
  • Successful students require a safe, supportive, and rigorous learning environment.
  • Institutional transparency promotes positive engagement and fosters trust between the school and its stakeholders.

 

5 thoughts on “Child Abuse @ The American School of Kuwait

  1. I officially saw this for the first time this past week. “Fat asses” and “fuckers” were phrases used when yelling at kids in the weight room (while other teachers/administration staff were in there working out as well). OMG! How is this man currently educating the children of our future? How is this acceptable? Literally brings tears to my eyes! Have the teachers whom have been here for a long time seriously turning a blind eye? Perhaps a little professional development on constructively encouraging kids to do their best would be appropriate! It is things like this, and the lack of consistency that are pulling down the school!

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