No, this little girl was not beaten to death by her teacher — she was hurt in a sledding accident
A Facebook post shared tens of thousands of times from a Nigerian account claims to show two pictures of a young girl who died after she was beaten by her class teacher. This is false; the pictures show a second-grader who was involved in a sledding accident in the US city of Chicago last year. We’ve spoken to the girl’s mother, who confirmed that her daughter is alive and well.
We've archived the misleading post here. The photo collage has been shared 56,000 times since it was published by the Facebook page Gist Arena.NG in April 2018 with the caption: “My sister Marian who was beaten by her class teacher has died this morning. PLEASE share this to campaign against child abuse.”
The fact that the girl is named as “Maryam” in the collage and “my sister Marian” in the text of the post provides the first warning sign that the post may be incorrect.
Nonetheless, the comments posted below the photos suggest that many readers believe this little girl was really beaten to death by her teacher -- some of them calling for the prosecution of the teacher in question.
However, a simple reverse image search on Google led us to articles, some of which we’ve archived here, here and here, about a little girl who was injured during a sledding outing with her school in Chicago in January 2018. The articles reported that the girl's mother Monica Jefferson was furious with the school for failing to tell her that her child had been injured.
The reverse image search also revealed that the pictures had been picked up a few months after the incident, in April 2018, in a post on the popular Nigerian social network Nairaland. “This is handwork of a teacher....me I will make sure the teacher suffer.. what of you? I saw the post on Facebook.. very annoying”.
We ran a Facebook search for Monica Jefferson and found her original January 2018 Facebook post, which recounted what happened to her daughter and included the two pictures that were later used in the misleading Nigerian post, along with two others showing her injuries.
In the post, Monica shared her anger over how her daughter’s school treated the incident.
“Nobody call me and let me know how she hurt her face or what was going on... The school didn't call me or the principal didn't call,” she wrote in the original post, which was shared some 20,000 times.
We reached out to Monica on Facebook. She confirmed that her daughter Maya is now doing fine and about to start the fourth grade.
“I wish people stop sharing her pictures,” she told AFP. Monica said it has been over a year since this happened “to my baby [but] people still want to share it or write negative things on it.”