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A teacher at Willowridge High School in The Willows in eastern Pretoria has been fired for taking three teenage boys to have their penises pierced.
The teacher was dismissed last week following a school governing body-sanctioned investigation and a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) pre-dismissal arbitration.
The teacher, whose name is known to Eyewitness News, was found guilty on three of the eight charges levelled against him.
This included the charge that he took three teenage boys to have “Prince Albert” piercings and that he had his own penis pierced in front of the youngsters. The boys were 15, 17 and 18 at the time of the incident last year. It’s understood the piercings were done at a private residence in Centurion.
He was also found guilty of taking the youngest boy to have a tattoo done. A photograph on the teenager’s Facebook page shows the adult watching at the tattoo parlour as the artist inks the boy’s body.
The teacher, who is a member of a well-known Afrikaans folk band, was further convicted of giving some of his students penis-shaped pasta and allowing them to bunk classes.
The school governing body has confirmed that the teacher, who is employed by them, was dismissed last week. Chairman Stefano Bruni says the CCMA was called in to manage the process. “The disciplinary was handled as a pre-dismissal arbitration by the CCMA and the outcome of the pre-dismissal was guilty on certain charges. The recommendation of sanction was dismissal and the educator is no longer at the school,” confirmed Bruni.
The Gauteng Education Department spokesman Gershwin Chuenyane says he will comment on this development on Wednesday. When Eyewitness News first revealed that the teacher was on suspension in August, Chuenyane welcomed the action taken by the governing body.
“The department can confirm that the allegations exist and that the teacher is suspended. We view them in a very serious light because the department has a zero-tolerance (approach to) sexual offences involving minors. We are pleased that the SGB took action,” he said.
An initial complaint was laid against the teacher with the Education Department in October last year. In February, a four-member investigating team was appointed by the governing body.
A decision was taken for a CCMA pre-dismissal arbitration to be held in order to protect the pupils from having to testify twice should the hearing go to an appeal. The teacher was represented by a lawyer during the hearings, as was the SGB.
While the investigating panel did look at the possibility of laying criminal charges against the teacher, a decision was taken not to pursue this avenue as the case would not be winnable.
However, one parent with inside knowledge of the case says she is extremely concerned about the teacher’s behaviour as it demonstrates possible “grooming of broken-winged, vulnerable children”.
This follows an incident earlier this month in which it emerged that a teacher at Hyde Park High School – whose name is known to The Star – was arrested and suspended from work for sending pornographic images to a 16-year-old pupil.
The boy’s mother discovered what the teacher was sending to her son when she pretended to be the 16-year-old on the instant messaging service, WhatsApp.
The teacher sent messages – under the impression he was communicating with the boy – which included the graphic images as well as picture of himself in the bath and sexually suggestive messages.
The teacher appeared in court and was released on bail.
The Gauteng Department of Education also launched a separate investigation into the Hyde Park teacher’s conduct.