Schools ordered to review pregnancy policies

2013-07-10 14:07

Two Free State school governing bodies must review their current pregnancy policies, the Constitutional Court has ruled.

The review had to be done by October 10 this year, Judge Sisi Khampepe said in the judgment today.

Once the review was complete, the governing bodies had to hand over an affidavit to the court setting out the process followed and furnish copies of the reviewed policies.

“The applicant and respondents must engage meaningfully with each other in order to give effect to the order,” Khampepe said.

The court was delivering judgment in a dispute between the Free State education head of department (HOD) and two Welkom schools.

At issue was whether the HOD was lawfully entitled to order the principals of the Welkom High School and Harmony High School not to comply with the pregnancy policies their governing bodies adopted in 2008 and 2009.

These provided for the automatic exclusion of pregnant pupils from school.

The HOD instructed the principals of the schools to readmit two pupils who had been suspended under the pregnancy policies.

The schools asked the Free State High Court for an interdict preventing the HOD from interfering with the implementation of their policies.

The high court granted the interdict, which the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) confirmed.

The high court and the SCA found that the HOD did not have authority to instruct the principals to contravene duly adopted school policies.

The HOD appealed against the decision in the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal against the decision of the SCA, but ordered the schools to review their policies on pregnant pupils.

No costs were ordered in the case.

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