Teacher sues over ‘porno’ picture

2008-10-10 00:00

Pretoria — Two years ago, three pupils at Waterkloof High in Pretoria thought it was funny when they manipulated a photograph of two naked men by adding the faces of their headmaster and his deputy — and distributed it around the school.

Now they are being sued by the deputy, who claims his dignity was impaired by the picture, in which he appears to touch the other man’s genitals.

Deputy Dr Louis Dey, who has moved to another school, told the Pretoria High Court how the photograph changed his life.

Dey is claiming R600 000 from the three, Christian Gildenhuys and Reinard Janse van Rensburg, both 19, and a 17-year-old who may not be identified as he is still a minor.

The three boys said they did not realise what they were doing was so bad and found it “funny”.

Advocate Thys Strydom, for the defendants, told Dey yesterday it was never the intention of the 17-year-old, who manipulated the photograph, that it should spread like wildfire through the school.

He MMS’ed it to a friend to show him “how good he is on the computer and to show off a bit”.

“That evening at church [the 17-year-old] bumped into his friend and saw him sending it to everybody. He then realised it was a prank that could get out of hand.”

Gildenhuys received the photo on his cellphone and thought it was funny, and that he should “perhaps take this funny joke a step further”.

The next day Gildenhuys, the son of Brigadier-General Chris Gildenhuys, commander of the SANDF’s Armoured Division in Pretoria, took a print of the picture to school and showed it to his friends.

Gildenhuys gave the photo to Janse van Rensburg, who posted it on the quad notice board.

Strydom said Dey has overreacted, but Dey feels otherwise: “These are children who just went altogether too far. This is extreme behaviour and not something that can be seen as an ordinary mistake.

Dey told the court on Thursday that the pupils “looked at me as if I was this ridiculous person who had masturbated with the headmaster”.

“I just wanted to sit in my office. I didn’t want to show my face.”

The boys were were given debit points and lost some of their privileges following a disciplinary hearing at the school. All three also had to clean animal cages at the zoo.

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