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Atlantis teacher absent for 17 months

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Concerned parents of pupils from Saxonsea Primary School in Atlantis, held a picket outside the school premises, calling for the dismissal of a teacher. The parents threatened to physically harm the teacher after claims of his drug habits and abuse toward learners surfaced.

According to the reports, which were later confirmed by the Western Cape Education Department, the alleged teacher, John Koen, was absent from school for seventeen months.

Parents, who spoke under anonymity, claimed the teacher fraternised with another junior teacher at the school and has impregnated her.

In addition, parents have appealed to the WCED to act swiftly after the teacher was to return back to school on the 28th November 2014 from his 17 months of absence. When the department did not respond before his return date, they staged a picket in an attempt to keep him away from pupils at the school.

Provincial Minister of Education, Debbie Schafer’s spokesperson, Jessica Shelver confirmed to VOC in an email that the teacher’s salary was stopped by the department due to non-compliance of the leave policy, adding that the period in question is to be regarded as unpaid leave.

All the incidents of alleged assault by the teacher have been reported to Labour Relations and are being investigated. Shelver further explained that disciplinary hearings couldn’t take place due to his absence.

However, Principle Klaasen says the situation has put pressure on the rest of the staff at the school. He refused to comment on the allegations made against the teacher. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)


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