Pupils expelled for teacher intimidationComment on this story
Durban - Two pupils who had threatened an elderly teacher and smashed the windscreen of her car have been expelled by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.
The Vryheid Agricultural High School’s governing body took the department to court last month after it had failed to take action against the pupils in the preceding six months.
The Pietermaritzburg High Court heard that after investigating the incident, the department wrote a letter to the school on April 8, saying the pupils were being expelled with immediate effect.
The letter forms part of the court records and says the Superintendent-General of the Education Department, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi, has, in terms of section 9 of the South African Schools Act of 1996, approved the expulsion of the two pupils, aged 17 and 18.
The department’s Zululand district director is requested to inform the pupils’ parents in writing of Sishi’s decision to expel their sons.
The district director is also to advise the parents of options for their children’s continued schooling.
The 17-year-old pupil was in Grade 11 and the 18-year-old in Grade 12.
Sishi said in a letter to the school that the parents of the Grade 12 pupil must be urged to make arrangements for their son to write his National Senior Certificate examinations in October.
Sishi also requested the district director to inform the parents in writing of their right to appeal against the decision by the superintendent-general.
Judge Yvonne Mbatha ordered on Thursday that the superintendent-general pay the costs of the school’s application.
In bringing the application, the school and governing body asked the court to review the failure of the head of the department to expel the pupils.
In court papers, Heinz Hellberg, the governing body chairman, explained that the two pupils were charged by the school last year with smashing the windscreen of a woman teacher’s vehicle and threatening and intimidating her.
The 17-year-old faced a further charge of bringing the school into disrepute.
On September 19, the pupils allegedly smashed the windscreen of their English teacher’s car, using a brick.
They allegedly left the brick on her car with the word “leave” inscribed on it.
At the disciplinary tribunal, at which pupils were represented, it was revealed that the pair had poor academic records.
It also emerged that the 18-year-old had a history of bullying and problems with authority.
The 17-year-old had been attending extra lessons with the teacher.
At their disciplinary hearings, the pupils pleaded guilty and admitted to contravening the school’s code of conduct.
Hellberg said the evidence presented at the tribunal was that the teacher was “a small, elderly lady who, after the incident, is living in fear”.
Having regard to the serious nature of the offences and the history of the pupils, the tribunal recommended that the pair be expelled from the school.
This recommendation was sent to the office of the Education Department Superintendent-General on October 18.
By March, no action had been taken against the pupils.
This prompted the school to approach the Pietermaritzburg High Court.