A teacher at a public school in Yerevan resigned on Tuesday following the emergence of an Internet video that shows him verbally and physically abusing one of his students.
The video shot on a mobile phone camera by another student was posted on Youtube on Monday and quickly disseminated by online media and social networking websites. It features a middle-aged man insulting and hitting a teenage boy in the classroom.
He was swiftly identified as Eduard Gevargizov, a history teacher at the Secondary School No. 8 located in downtown Yerevan. According to the school principal, Marietta Matghashian, the incident took place in March last year.
Matghashian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that Gevargizov admitted “disgracing the school” and tendered his resignation “with tears in the eyes” on Tuesday morning. “That is a shocking fact that can not be justified in any way,” she said of his violent conduct.
The Armenian Ministry of Education condemned it as “unacceptable,” while the Yerevan Mayor’s Office, which oversees all municipal schools, issued a “strict reprimand” to the school administration.
Matghashian described Gevargizov as a “very kind and balanced” person who has worked at the school for four years. In her words, the 14-year-old student hit by the teacher now lives in Russia.
The student’s classmates were also full of praise for the disgraced teacher. “It was probably our fault,” one schoolgirl told RFE/RL. “He was exasperated by one of the misbehaving students and reprimanded him once.”
“The teacher was forced to do that. He is not guilty,” said another classmate.
Students from other classes said that such incidents are not uncommon in their school, one of the most prestigious in Armenia. “Our physics teacher throws keys at kids,” claimed one boy.
“No matter how badly we behave, they have no right to slap or insult us,” said another.