Pupils at Sans Souci protest in support of the teacher who was caught on camera slapping a pupil. Picture: Supplied by WCED
Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has re-issued its discipline guide following the actions of the teacher at Sans Souci Girls' High School in Newlands, Cape Town, who was 
caught on camera slapping a pupil during a heated confrontation.

The video on social media shows the teacher engaged in an argument with the pupil. The teacher can be heard admonishing the girl for having her cellphone at school in contravention of the school's code of conduct .

When the teacher confiscates the pupil's cellphone the girl pushes past her to take to phone from the teacher's table. At this point, the teacher becomes visibly overwrought and slaps the girl, to the horror of her classmates.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said that the department is very aware of the many disciplinary challenges educators face daily in schools, however, the use of violence to deal with learners that show signs of behavioural issues or are ill-disciplined cannot be tolerated. 

In light of the video, the department re-issued documents that outline how teachers can discipline learners, without using corporal punishment

"Through the school’s code of conduct, schools should state clearly what kinds of behaviour are unacceptable. Should a learner transgress, then the school has the right to discipline the learner," Schäfer said. 

"The WCED will support schools that ensure that the relevant disciplinary procedures are followed when it comes to any form of violence or antisocial behaviour in our schools. This is because we take a zero-tolerance stance on learners that transgress various disciplinary codes by attacking or assaulting their fellow learners or educators.

"At the same time, we ask that educators exercise control when confronted with issues of ill-discipline."

Schäfer is aware that educators feel unsure in how to deal with discipline in their classroom. She said that while there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to unruly behaviour in our schools, there are certain methods that can be adopted to deal with different circumstances.

The department has two documents that outline how one can discipline learners, without using corporal punishment.

Alternatives to corporal punishment:

https://www.westerncape.gov.za/sites/www.westerncape.gov.za/files/documents/2005/7/alternatives_corporal_punishmen.pdf

Learner discipline and school management:

https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/documents/LearnerDiscipline/Learner_Discipline_and_School_Management.pdf

"There are a number of programmes in place for district-specific behaviour interventions. Districts are providing an array of skills training in alternative and restorative strategies to deal with learner discipline," Schäfer said

"Schools are encouraged to inform the district should they have training needs.

"Schools are to ensure that they are informed of the relevant guidelines to assist them in this regard. This includes, the WCED’s policy on Learner Discipline and School Management, as well as, the WCED Abuse no more protocol document."

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