Voice of the Cape

From the news desk

WCED must be investigated over San Souci issue

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The Chamber of Legal Students has said it will be investigating the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the School Governing body of San Souci Girls High, after a teacher who slapped a learner is expected to return to her post.

Afrikaans teacher Clarisa Venter and a grade nine learner were both suspended after a video showed them in a heated altercation in February.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer’s spokesperson Jessica Shelver said last Friday that the Sans Souci High School governing body had decided to give Venter a fine, a final warning and that she needs to attend an anger management session.

But the Chamber of Legal Students believes Venters disciplinary process is not an adequate consequence for assaulting the child.

“Regarding a teacher who has acted violently in class, especially since its gone viral, legally-per regulation that teacher should not be allowed to teach anymore. The WCED and SGB has blatantly acted outside of regulations,” said director Abdullah Johaardien.

An investigation needs to be carried out into the happenings of the school, to discern how the SGB handled the situation and the WCED for allowing this to transpire the way that it has.”
Johardien said a false impression of the student was created as the school could not provide a disciplinary record and should have protected the child’s rights.

“Based on the facts of the case, she was assaulted and the whole school banded up against one student. This is a child that doesn’t even understand life or her position in society. This girl was deemed to be a problem child but there is no record of her even having anger issues. The school sent us a single page of an ‘investigative report’- this issue is more than that. Nobody has any proof of her being a problem child. Stories are being made up about this child, on a national scale.”

He added that the child’s rights should have been protected.

“Schools are supposed to ensure that the students’ rights are realised tan that things happen in the best interest of the student. What happened now very clearly is that San Souci has placed the rights of teachers and interest of SGBs over that of the students. It allows teachers to feel they can do whatever they want, the world can see it and they can get away with it.”

Johaardien said there is complete justification to take the matter the Equality Court since the student is a “clear victim”. He added that the education system is “in shambles” and points to a greater problem.

“The foundation of our country’s education s being taken advantage of and it’s one of the reasons that the country has this problem of poverty and unemployment because at its foundation it doesn’t work.”

Shelver said they would not issue a statement as Venter was an SGB appointee – not a department employee. Johaardien argued that because of this, the teacher was protected.

“So because this teacher is supported by the SGB, she’s supported by all the government set up institutions that work with the SGB. The student has nothing backing her up except us and the WCED. We have launched an investigation into these (departments) and the school.”

The 36-year-old teacher however is expected to appear in court on a charge of assault brought by the learner’s mother on April 18.

The 16-year-old girl is also expected back in court to face the counter assault charge and her mother has since removed her from the school. VOC


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