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Kimberley - A teacher at Homevale High School has been accused of touching a matric learner on her thigh while asking her why she was wearing a pair of pants, instead of a skirt, on Friday.
It is also believed that the teacher was drunk at the time of the incident.
The principal of the school, Carl Muller, confirmed that the incident happened and added that “the misunderstanding between the learner and the teacher has been resolved amicably”.
The matric learner said that the incident happened in the presence of other learners during a computer class.
“We were sitting in a group when the teacher sat next to me and started touching me on my thigh. He asked why I was not wearing a skirt instead of the grey pants I had on. I told him to stop what he was doing and he did. But he then went to sit on the table behind me and touched me on my back.
“I told him that if he did not stop, I would walk out of his classroom. He continued to touch me on my back and I walked out and went to the principal’s office to report the incident,” the learner stated.
The learner said, however, that she was not happy with the manner in which the incident was handled.
“The principal asked whether I expected him to put the teacher over his lap and hit him like a schoolboy. He (the principal) did not even take down my name or document the incident,” the learner said.
“He just told me to return to class and said he would look into the matter.”
The learner added that she then contacted her mother and told her to report the matter to the media. Muller said yesterday that although he had a meeting with the learner, her mother and the teacher involved on Monday, he still had to communicate the incident to the Northern Cape Department of Education.
“The learner’s mother said that the teacher apologised to them during Monday’s meeting and it was also decided that he should apologise to all learners at the school for what he did,” he said.
The spokesman for the Nothern Cape Department of Education, Sydney Stander, said yesterday that the teacher’s conduct warranted strong action because it was not consistent with code of conduct for teachers.
“Secondly, it (the teacher’s conduct) betrays the trust parents and society has on the teaching profession. We would follow up with the school because in the light of the campaign against women and child abuse, we are expecting zero tolerance against such conduct,” Stander said.
He pointed out that the department would also investigate the conduct of the school manager (principal) because he had a constitutional obligation towards protecting all children at the school and acting in their interests.
“In this case, we would have expected the child to be treated with sensitivity and given the assurance that the matter is taken seriously,” Stander said.
The MEC for Education in the Province, Grizelda Cjiekella, said that she was disgusted “that at this point in our history we still have professionals being accused of such inhumane behaviour which puts the entire profession in question”.
“I am committing to all learners in the Province that if the allegations against the teacher were found to be true I will ensure that such teachers never stands before learners in the Province.”
Stander added that all schools in the Province were alcohol-free zones and they would also look into allegations that the teacher was drunk at the time of the incident.
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