Durban - THE National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) says it has no sympathy for teachers found to be in sexual relationships with pupils.
This after the recent arrests of two teachers in the province on such charges. One was an oThongathi (Tongaat) teacher arrested last Monday and charged with the statutory rape of a 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil.
The teacher also allegedly exchanged inappropriate messages with the pupil via WhatsApp.
The 31-year-old appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court last week and the matter was adjourned to today.
The teacher has since been suspended pending the outcome of the Education Department’s internal investigation.
The second teacher, of Melmoth, is accused of giving medication to a 13-year-old pupil to abort a pregnancy. He was arrested last week and charged with attempted murder and the rape of the pupil.
It is alleged that the 51-year-old teacher had a sexual relationship with the minor pupil at a high school where he had worked since February.
When the pupil fell pregnant and told the teacher, he allegedly gave her medication he told her was for pain.
The pupil was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after taking the medication, which it transpired was intended to terminate the pregnancy.
Naptosa spokesperson Thirona Moodley said that a minority of teachers were bringing the teaching profession into disrepute.
“If found guilty in a court of law,they must face the consequences, which include being blacklisted from teaching. The country is overloaded with such incidents of abuse of women and children, and we can’t allow this to happen to our children at school.
“Parents send their children to school to learn, not to be sexually abused. If it’s found that other teachers were aware of these relationships, then those teachers should also be held responsible for not doing anything about it,” she said.
Moodley said relationships between teachers and pupils were a violation of the Schools Act.
Allen Thompson, the National Teachers Union president, called for the department and SA Council of Educators (Sace) to intensify workshops to remind teachers about ethics, morals and their responsibilities.
“Teachers need a moral rejuvenation. Our society, including parents and pupils, needs to understand that such relationships are prohibited.
“We’ve seen cases where parents allow the relationships because of financial gains,” he said.
Sace spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said one case of statutory rape was one too many.
“Parents send their kids to school to learn, not expecting that they are putting them at risk of being exposed to sex and getting pregnant.
“We call on parents to encourage their children to report such cases so that we can remove those teachers from teaching,” he said.
Sace previously reported that sex offenders and harassment culprits were mostly male teachers between 35 and 54 with an office or laboratory, or access to pupils after school.