The picture that has been circulating online of a West Rand teacher and a girl, who his mom says is 19. Picture: Supplied
Johannesburg - The mother of a West Rand teacher, whose picture with a semi-naked teenager has gone public, says the incident has destroyed and left him depressed.

Last week, a picture of the teacher in pyjamas hugging the girl, who was wearing only a T-shirt as they posed for a selfie in front of a full-length mirror, circulated on social media.

Speaking to The Star, the mother said the release of the image had destroyed her 26-year-old son, who started his teaching career two years ago, and that the girl was no longer a pupil. All she wanted to know, she said, was who leaked the picture.

“The photo has destroyed my son. The girl is not a schoolgirl and she is 19 years old. She is no longer at the school. She was a pupil last year, not this year. The people who leaked the picture must come forward,” she said, adding that the pair were just friends.

Read: Teacher in trouble over selfie with pupil

The picture was taken last Monday, she said.

The mother said it had been hell for her son since he started teaching at the school. “He has been at the school for two years and he has never been happy there. One day, while driving to work with me, he stopped the car and wept.

“He is a teacher, but no longer behaves like one. I have to wake him in the morning and help him get ready for work. If I don’t do that, he won’t go.”

The mother said the man was depressed by the lack of respect from other staff members at the school.

She said the teacher was booked off work after the picture was leaked and would return to the school on Monday.

But Gauteng Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said: “The educator was immediately removed from the school to allow the investigations to continue without any disturbance.

“The department is appealing for patience while we investigate this matter. The outcome of the investigation will determine the appropriate action.”

He added that the department had a zero-tolerance stance on sexual misconduct and sexual assault.

The mother said she blamed herself for the incident, because she had pushed her son to pursue education.

“He wanted to study travel and tourism, but I encouraged him to do teaching. I wanted him to help other children, but now I feel like I dug a grave for my son.

“If he is wrong, that is okay. What I need to know is now that the girl is in tertiary (education), are they not allowed to be involved? I am not defending my son. If my son is wrong to have an affair with an ex-pupil, they must tell him,” she said.

The Star