Newspaper clipping – The Mercury – 26 May 2010

Pregnant pupil returns to school

The Education Department is considering taking disciplinary action against a Chesterville secondary school principal who apparently implemented a policy that barred pregnant pupils from attending classes.

The pupil returned to school yesterday without incident, after the department’s intervention.

The pregnant matric pupil was recently barred from going to school by a group of parents, who said she would bring the school into disrepute. The parents had threatened to blockade the school gate and prevent the pupil from entering the premises, following implementation of a policy that was apparently endorsed by the school-governing body and the principal last year.

But the Education Department intervened and said that the policy was unconstitutional and against the SA Schools Act.

The girl’s mother, who may not be named, said her daughter had stopped going to school on April 30 after the principal had told her that it was against policy to admit pregnant pupils. The pupil said her return to school yesterday went well and she, was not harassed by parents, teachers or other pupils.

The 17-year-old became pregnant after being raped by two men. She is receiving trauma counseling and social workers are making arrangements for the baby to be in their care when it is born.

Education district director Mlungisi Ntombela said the pupil should not have been barred from school on the basis of unconstitutional policy.
“We have asked for a full report on the matter and we could take corrective measures or disciplinary action against the principal on the basis of that report. Statements will be taken from various stakeholders,” he said – Gugu Mbonambi