MEC still studying schoolsex fallout

2010-12-13 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Education Department is dragging its feet over the matter of two pupils who were caught having sex in the toilets of Ladysmith High School after the principal, Dr Ettiene Liversage, circulated letters to parents explaining the incident.

The mother of the girl involved in the case and Emnambithi/Ladysmith Mayor Dudu Mazibuko said they believe the letters have racial overtones and that the principal handled the matter in a racist manner as the pupils were identified by name and race.

The boy has since written his matric. The girl was suspended but was allowed to write her Grade 9 examinations. At the time Education MEC Senzo Mchunu said he would intervene.

On October 29, the girl’s mother wrote a letter to the principal asking for an explanation about her daughter’s suspension.

“On November 1, I was called to a meeting by Dr Liversage and a senior representative from the education district office where I was told that my child was welcome to come back to the school next year. I asked them to put what they said at the meeting in writing as an assurance of my child’s safety,” she said. She was told the request could not be entertained as the letter could end up in the media, she said.

“The principal gave us 24 hours to state our position and said if I persist with my request he would extend the suspension,” she said.

She has taken the matter to her lawyer, she said, and there are no developments at this stage.

Last Wednesday department spokesperson Mbali Thusi said the MEC has received the report on the matter and he was still studying it.

Democratic Alliance education spokesperson said the principal should make a public apology and state that he was caught up in the heat of the moment.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) said the pupils’ behaviour was appalling, but that does not excuse the way the principal treated the matter.

Sadtu spokesperson Phila Kubheka said, “Calling learners black is racist, counter-revolutionary and barbarous.

“The matter could have been treated confidentially rather than exposing the learners to the general and school community.”

A researcher with the South African Institute for Race Relations, Lucy Holborn, said the race of the learners is irrelevant.

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