Expelled siblings back at school

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gavel_may 14 Independent Newspapers File photo

Two siblings at a Durban private school who were expelled last week because of the alleged aggressive actions of their father, a policeman, returned to school on Tuesday after a Durban High Court interim order was lodged on Monday.

According to Mount Edgecombe Private School (Meps) authorities, they had decided to “discontinue the children’s admission” because the parent had committed “numerous offences” over the past year.

“Those poor kids… now the dad wants to gloat that the kids are back at the school,” said the school’s deputy principal, Rohith Baijnath, on Wednesday.

Baijnath said the school’s legal team was putting together papers to present to the Durban High Court later this month to possibly overturn the court’s decision, and asked not to comment further because the matter was sub judice.

Judge AJ Govender ordered that the boys be reinstated with immediate effect, pending an appeal from the school within 30 days.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education had condemned the school’s actions, but said that it had no control over how independent schools conducted their business.

“From our part, it is unlawful to punish children for the acts of their parents,” said the department’s spokesman Sihle Mlotshwa.

The Phoenix parent, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children, and his attorney Zane Haneef, said in court papers that the boys were settled at the school and used report cards to show this. They said the boys had never had behavioural problems and, “it is in their best interest for them to remain at Meps for the duration of their schooling careers”.

The parent, according to the deputy principal, other teachers and a prefect, had allegedly caused a scene on the school premises, hurling insults and assaulting a school-employed driver.

The parent admitted “shaking up” the driver a bit, but denied being vulgar in the presence of pupils.

Baijnath said they had to protect the safety and security of the 500 children at the school. He claimed the parent was aggressive and vulgar and turned up dressed in full police uniform with a gun hanging on his side.

Responding to the children’s expulsion after the incident, the parent said he was summoned to the school by the deputy principal and witnessed the boys crying uncontrollably in the principal’s office with all their books.

“I was very concerned at this sight, more so as I did not know why my two children were victimised in this fashion,” he said in court papers.

The parent also said that he had become “frantic” when his son had gone missing for two hours. When the driver appeared with the son, he said he was in a state of anger and rage.

He claims the driver has apologised for his behaviour.

The parent said: “You can’t take things lightly these days. Every day kids are being molested and abducted. He was gone so long with my kid, I was worried sick.” – Cadet News Agency, Daily News

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