The tutor has continued to work at the San Agustín primary school in the Spanish-owned city-province of Ceuta on the northern Moroccan coast during the two years it has taken for the case to come to court.
She is said to have placed the boy in the waste-paper basket on two occasions when he was disruptive in class, but insists it was a form of non-confrontational child discipline known as ‘time out’.
This is where the adult does not react to a child’s tantrum or bad behaviour other than to quietly place him or her in the corner, if it is a classroom, or bedroom, at home, until they have calmed down – a maximum of a few minutes.
The court, however, does not consider the waste-paper basket as the ideal ‘time out’ location.
According to the case, hitherto unproven accusations claim the teacher – identified only by her initials of A.G.R. – ‘smacked children’s bottoms’ and ‘pulled their ears’, but she denies this and says she only scolded them or made them stand up against the wall.
As for the three-year-old boy she put in the bin, he was hitting other children and harming himself, the tutor said.
Claims she told the class to chant, ‘dirty, rubbish, in the bin’ at the boy have no evidence to back them up, the court says.
According to the judge, the only ‘incident of abuse’ it has clear indications of is that of putting the three-year-old in the bin for between five and six minutes which, ‘even if it was an isolated case’ is ‘humiliating’, ‘degrading’ and ‘a violation of his dignity’, as well as ‘unjustified, out of proportion and unnecessary’.