February 12, 2017:     Five students at Adventist-run Solusi High School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe were hospitalized after a severe beating by a staff member.

Zimbabwe’s Chronicle newspaper reports that the beatings which hospitalized the students took place the week of January 29 but that the same staff member has beaten students since school started in January.

Parents are furious at Methuseli Ncube, the staff member behind the beatings. The Chronicle claims that there have been complaints about Ncube’s beating of students in the past but that nothing had been done to address the complaints.

The most recent beating was administered with “a thick stick” and  appears to have been triggered by the tardiness of some students in making their way to a school dining hall.

An injured student in hospital told The Chronicle that this was “not the first time that he beat us up like that. He clamps our heads tightly between his legs and then bashes us with a log, a stick, fists or anything that he can get hold of. Most of the times, he insults us with obscenities, even referring to our parents’ private parts. He even boasts that no one can do anything to him because he claims he is untouchable. If it was up to me I would just transfer from this school. It is even making me hate my childhood church.”

Neither Ncube nor the school head made comments to the media in relation to this most recent violent episode.

The Zimbabwe Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists did not comment on the controversy either.

A senior official who spoke with the newspaper on condition of anonymity said, “It seems the church is comfortable with Mr Ncube’s conduct, for some of us we cannot do anything because it might seem like we have a vendetta against him.”

South African current affairs site news 24 reported on the incident, adding that corporal punishment in schools was only recently banned in Zimbabwe under a new constitution in 2013, and that it was not until 2015 that a major court ruling outlawed caning in schools.