Ahigh school teacher was arrested on charges of rape and suspended from teaching this week after it emerged he was allegedly dating and having sex with his pupils.
Two of his 17-year-old victims spoke to The Star this week about the relationship they had with their English teacher, who is in his forties, and how this had destroyed their matric year.
One of the girls said she fell pregnant and was forced to have an abortion She said her life had become hell because the teacher had told her friends about it.
Melissa (not her real name) has attended a high school in KwaThema since she was in Grade 8. Last year she began taking classes with the new English teacher.
She said she was one of his favourite pupils and he frequently asked her to help him. This year he began commenting on how beautiful Melissa was in front of the class. She claimed he started SMSing her.
“He said: ‘Hi.’ I said hi back. Then he said: ‘I love you.’ I said: ‘I love you too.’ He then said he was serious.
“I liked him a lot, but as a teacher, as a dad,” the girl said.
Melissa said the teacher went further, asking her to come to his house. She did and they watched a movie and spoke about her school work.
“Then he bought me alcohol and I got drunk. He started kissing me and we slept together,” Melissa said.
“The next morning I was so ashamed and I couldn’t look at him. In class on Monday I couldn’t concentrate.”
A few weeks later, she found out she was pregnant, and she told her teacher about it.
“He said I mustn’t worry, he would give me money for an abortion. He promised to fetch me from the hospital, but he didn’t.”
She didn’t speak to him for a while, but a few weeks later, Melissa said, he began SMSing her again, saying he loved her.
She said she fell for his sweet talk and embarked on a relationship with him, but she noticed he was complimenting other girls in her class, and when she asked him about it, he beat her, she said.
“I said to him I wanted to end this and he threatened he would tell my friends about the abortion. He also said that if I reported him, he had a gun and he would kill me,” Melissa said.
The teacher carried on sending her messages.
“He sent me messages saying things like ‘Mmm, you are sexy.’
“I told him he was confusing me; playing with my mind. Please can he leave me alone.”
Melissa said the teacher started telling people he had had sex with her and that she had had an abortion.
“I was feeling so down,” she said.
The teenager then told the principal of her school.
Later, she went with her mother to the police station, where she laid a charge of intimidation against the teacher and got a protection order.
One of her friends told The Star a similar story.
She said she didn’t want to disappoint the teacher, who she looked up to, so she became involved in a relationship with him.
“He threatened me if I said anything. He showed me his gun,” the teenager said.
“I’m glad this will stop. I can’t go to school anymore and see him.”
The teen said many other girls were in the same situation, but were too scared to come forward.
Police Sergeant Andries Tshabalala said the teacher had been arrested on charges of rape and had been released on bail yesterday.
Department of Education spokesman Charles Phahlane said two pupils had laid separate charges of rape and intimidation against a teacher at the school.
“The educator was arrested and appeared in court yesterday. The department views these allegations in a serious light,” Phahlane said.
He said the teacher had been placed on precautionary suspension pending an internal disciplinary inquiry.
An investigation had been launched to establish whether other pupils had complaints of sexual misconduct against the teacher.
“Psychologists were sent to the school to provide support to affected learners.
“The learners should go to school and attend the matric revision classes offered by the department,” Phahlane said.
Meanwhile, Melissa is hoping she will be able to cope with her matric exams, so she can pursue a course next year that will see her becoming a metro police officer.
“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep and I can’t concentrate.
“I feel like crying all the time. I’m scared because he threatened me,” she said.