A father alleged his 8-year-old son, who is at Edgemead Primary School, was manhandled at the school in November last year. Picture: ANA Pictures
A father alleged his 8-year-old son, who is at Edgemead Primary School, was manhandled at the school in November last year. Picture: ANA Pictures

Father seeks justice after 8-year-old son 'manhandled' at Edgemead Primary

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Mar 10, 2021

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Cape Town - A father alleged his 8-year-old son, who is at Edgemead Primary Shool, was manhandled at the school in November last year, with the principal and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) doing nothing about it.

Gavin Joachims, claims that the incident occurred in front of his eyes, as he went to pick up his son after school, but the principal has since been ignoring him.

Joachims said as his son made his way to the school gate after the bell rang on November 11, he (son) stepped off the pavement and he (father) indicated to him to stand and wait for him, which he did.

"At this point he was standing on the spot - out of the roadway - waiting for me, as I was two car lengths from him," said Joachims.

He said the teacher saw him, greeted and waved at him, and she acknowledged and waved back.

"But she suddenly starts shouting at my son, saying that he cannot cross the road by himself. She then proceeds to yank at my son by the straps of his school bag."

He said while looking at him directly in the eyes, she pulled and pushed his son across the road, and shoved him in the road.

"I was disappointed and angered by the way that the teacher acted. I could see that my son was visibly disturbed by her actions," he said.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the school’s preliminary investigation, which included a witness statement, allegedly concluded that the teacher instinctively pulled the pupil's backpack to protect him from risk of passing traffic as the child had started to cross the road unaccompanied.

Writing to Joachims yesterday, Wendy Horn, district director for WCED's Metro North District, said the principal has informed her office that a dispute has occurred between him and the teacher employed by the School Governing Body (SGB).

"District director and circuit manager does not have jurisdiction over SGB employed teachers. As a consequence, challenges that occur with regard to SGB employees need to be addressed by the SGB," said Horn.

She said the principal was in the employ of the WCED. As the employer, they would manage the principal and if they find any cause that requires intervention, that would be dealt with within the ambit of the educators employees act and other relevant legislation.

Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools legal services manager Juané van der Merwe, said the parent should raise concerns with the SGB who could also investigate, monitor and implement measures to address the health and safety issues within the school.

ANC provincial spokesperson on education Khalid Sayed said it was disappointing that the principal and district officials were not treating the matter with the seriousness it deserves.

National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB) chief executive Matakanye Matakanye said the parent should report the matter to the district office if there was no response to the province, if no response to the South African Council for Educators (Sace) and Human Rights Commission.

Cape Argus

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