Newspaper clipping – The Mercury – 24 May 2010

Parents try to bar pregnant pupil

A group of Durban parents is determined to bar a pregnant girl from returning to school today, saying she will bring the school into disrepute.

The call by the parents has prompted the Education Department to intervene, stating that it would be unconstitutional to stop a pregnant pupil from going to school.

A community worker, who asked not to be named, said the girl, 17, from a Chesterville high school, became pregnant after being raped by two men.
“Every child has a right to education and those parents who are preventing this child from going to school are going against the law,” he said.

Yesterday, tempers flared at a meeting at the school. Parents said they would do whatever it took to keep the girl out of the school.

The girl’s mother, who may not be named to protect her daughter’s identity, said her daughter had stopped going to school on April 30 after the principal had told her that it was against the school’s policy to admit pregnant pupils.
“I was told by two teachers and a social worker that my child was pregnant because she was raped. I was absolutely horrified and what made matters worse was the principal’s suggestion that my daughter should come back to school next year,” she said.

She said her daughter was struggling to deal with the rape and was receiving counseling.
“The case is being investigated by social workers. They have told me that they are making arrangements for the baby to be in their care once my daughter gives birth,” she said.

The school principal would not comment on the matter yesterday. Education district director Mlungisi Ntombela said the school’s policies should be in line with those put in place for the government.
“The department does not expel pregnant children from school and doing so is unconstitutional,” he said.

Ntombela warned that anybody who “abused or victimized “ the pupil would be dealt with. – Gugu Mbonambi