Newspaper clipping – The Cape Times – 14 October 2008
Court rules school right to expel boy
By Karen Breytenbach
A Fairbairn College pupil who was found guilty of smoking and selling dagga at school and in uniform at a nearby park has failed to have his expulsion overturned in the Cape High Court.
Judge Andre le Grange on Monday said although the boy had a constitutional
right to proper basic education, his “serious misconduct”
had jeopardized his fellow learners’ equally important right to
get an education in a safe environment.
He dismissed an application brought by the boy’s guardian for the
expulsion to be reviewed and set aside. He ruled that she had to bear
the costs of the application, brought against Education MEC Yousuf Gabru,
provincial education head, Ron Swartz and the governing body of Fairbairn
College School in Goodwood.
The judge said the offences committed by the boy were “very serious”, and his continued presence at the school compromised the safe learning of his fellow pupils.
The boy was suspended on May 22. After a disciplinary haring the governing body made a recommendation to expel the boy. He was allowed, by agreement between the parties, to stay until the process had run its course.
Le Grange also rejected allegations by his guardian that the hearing was flawed and procedurally unfair and that the decision to expel was grossly unreasonable. He also disagreed with her allegation that the governing body did not form a quorum, because the majority of the members were present.
The judge said the boy had admitted to smoking dagga. He said the bulk
of the evidence supported the conclusion that the boy was selling dagga
cigarettes to fellow pupils and therefore the governing body’s findings
Other pupils as well as the headmaster, Bernard Marchand, testified against
him and were cross-examined.