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Inquiry opens into teacher's alleged abuse of handicapped student

Belgian authorities have opened an investigation into the abuse of a 14-year-old boy at a special needs school, whose teacher allegedly plunged his head under a water tap, and in a bucket of cement, in addition to verbal abuse.

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AFP - Belgian authorities have opened an investigation into a teacher who was filmed plunging a student's head into a bucket of cement during a masonry lesson, Belgian television reported Friday.

A video taken by a fellow student's mobile phone shows the teacher lifting the 14-year-old student and forcing his head into the bucket. It is not possible to tell from the video how full the bucket was.

The video, which was shown on television in several evening news programmes, also shows the teacher dragging the student to a wide sink and plunging his head under a running faucet.

The events were reported to have happened in November at a special education school for handicapped children in the central Belgian city of Hoegaarden.

The local prosecutors office said that the teacher, who according to the school's director greatly regretted his acts risked a heavy punishment if charges of injuring the youth were confirmed by a judge.

Belgium's state secretary for handicapped people Julie Fernandez expressed her shock by the video.

And Frank Vandenbroucke, education minister for the northern Flanders region, asked why it had taken so long for the school's authorities to react.

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