Manhandled Uitsig learner wearing EFF regalia ’has a history of defiance’
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Pretoria - The Uitsig High School, Centurion, learner who was manhandled by security while wearing EFF regalia on Friday has a history of ill-discipline.
This is according to the Gauteng Department of Education, the School Governing Body (SGB), as well as manage- ment regarding the incident, captured on video and posted on social media.
In the 35-second video, a school security guard can be seen dragging the pupil out while he hangs on to a light pole, asking fellow learners to take a video of the altercation. Other pupils can be heard in the background shouting and accusing the security guard and school of racism.
It had initially been reported that the pupil was thrown out for wearing his political colours last Friday, a Career’s Day, at the school. This prompted the EFF to picket at the school on Monday.
However, department spokesperson Steve Mabona said information received from the school indicated that the learner had a history of defiance and disregard for discipline and the code of conduct. In fact, Mabona said, on the day of the incident, the pupil had opted to come to school despite having been placed on a seven-day temporary suspension by the school.
“He (the learner) has more than 800 demerit points and awaits a formal SGB disciplinary hearing. The parent of the learner was invited numerous times to disciplinary meetings, but has never attended,” Mabona said.
“Irrespective of his suspension, the
pupil unlawfully entered the school premises, in effect breaching the conditions of his suspension. This prompted security personnel to remove the pupil from the school yard, in line with the school’s code of conduct,” he added.
Department district officials were working closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation at the school, especially as further threats of protest action had been received. “Community stakeholders have a role to play in the education of our children. But top of mind during this pandemic, which has already taken so much teaching and learning time, should be ensuring that the little time pupils have is used as productively as possible. It is in that light that we condemn the disruption of schooling at Uitsig… ”
In the interim, Mabona said, the parent of the learner had agreed to a disciplinary meeting at the school today. The department would monitor the situation and intervene, if need be.
Principal Dr Gerhard Mare, in a letter to parents, said the pupil had been placed on suspension as he had committed a number of infringements at the school, which included bunking classes, arriving late and not attending detention. Mare stressed that the learner was not removed from the premises because of what he was wearing, but due to him disregarding his suspension to come to school.
The SGB lashed out in its communique to parents at the regional EFF for the pickets held at the school. Chairperson Sebata Motau said the incident had nothing to do with any political party, but rather discipline. Motau said the school would not be deterred from maintaining discipline by applying sanctions for misconduct from learners. “In many situations around the country some elements want to take advantage of the situation and use it to mislead the public for political gain.”