Dr Enock Nzama from the KZN Department of Education addresses teachers after a briefing at an uMlazi school, from where a teacher was suspended. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane
Durban - The national Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) welcomed news that an uMlazi high school teacher was suspended.

The history teacher was suspended after a video of her caning a pupil went viral on social media last week.

Naptosa spokesperson Thirona Moodley said while the incident was shocking, more teachers were turning to corporal punishment to deal with discipline issues.

“Many teachers have been charged criminally for assault and charged with misconduct for corporal punishment. Some may or may not be aware that this is banned in terms of the SA Schools Act and is a criminal offence,” said Moodley.

She added that teachers faced challenges every day and unfortunately no support was offered to them in terms of coping with discipline.

“The employer must provide development opportunities for educators empowering them with techniques that effectively deal with discipline challenges. School managers must act quickly and decisively when issues of discipline are reported to them,” said Moodley.

Examples should be set so these incidents do not set bad precedents.

“Strong leadership is required in schools so that most of the discipline challenges will be averted. We must ask how is it that some schools get it right and others always get it wrong? Whatever the discipline challenges, there can never be any excuse for corporal punishment as it infringes the child’s constitutional right to dignity and can never be tolerated.”

Pupils cheered when Dr Enock Nzama, head of the provincial Department of Education, announced its decision to suspend the teacher.

Nzama warned teachers to remain calm and practice restraint with pupils.

“Once an incident is caught on camera, it is shared to social media,” he warned.

He said they were disheartened at having to take such action against a teacher but the department was firm when it came to corporal punishment.

Zero tolerance

Education department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said they had a zero tolerance attitutde towards cases of corporal punishment and an investigation would be launched at the school.

The teacher has taught at the school for more than 20 years and is in her 60s.

A second video of another teacher caning pupils also went viral last week. Dr Nzama could not confirm if the teacher or school in the second video was from the province.

Meanwhile, a pupil has been suspended at George Campbell School of Technology after a protest over claims of racism and assault at the school.

Mthethwa confirmed the pupil’s suspension. He was allegedly identified as the instigator of the protests.

“The boy tried to force his way on to the premises. The police escorted him out. There were protesters outside the school premises who were local university students accompanied by Black First Land First members. The police chased them away. Teachers continued with lessons,” said Mthethwa.