Principal changes plea to guilty

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Johannesburg - A Johannesburg school principal charged with insubordination changed her plea to guilty on Wednesday.

Rivonia Primary School head Carol Drysdale did so after the department agreed, during her disciplinary hearing in Johannesburg, that she would not be fired, and would be given a warning.

Whether the warning should be final would be argued when the hearing resumed on September 19.

Mxolisi Zondo, for the Gauteng education department, proposed that Drysdale be given a final warning. Dion Masher, for Drysdale, wanted her to be handed an ordinary warning.

The department would deliver its argument on the sanction on September 19, while Drysdale would do so on September 26.

A ruling would be given next month.

Speaking on behalf of Drysdale, Masher said: “We are happy that this has been settled and she can go back to work... We are satisfied with the outcome.”

Drysdale was charged with gross insubordination after she refused to admit a Grade 1 pupil to her school, saying the grade was full.

The department head ordered her to admit the child, but Drysdale refused, saying only the education MEC could make such an order.

Earlier in the day, Qiniso Zwane, co-ordinator of appeals at the department head office, said legislation granted the department head the authority to overturn an admission decision. This information caused Drysdale to change her plea.

Masher said: “My client would have followed the instructions had she known.”

Education spokesman Charles Phahlane welcomed the settlement. - Sapa

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