School must pay damages for hammer attack
Bloemfontein - The Supreme Court of Appeal held on Monday that Rhodes High School in Cape Town and the education authorities should pay damages to a teacher who was attacked with a hammer by a 13-year-old pupil.
Teacher Tania Jacobs was seriously injured when the teenager attacked her while she was a Grade 8 class teacher in September 2001.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed an appeal by the headmaster and the Western Cape education department and upheld an order of the Western Cape High Court for damages in favour of Jacobs.
The high court held the school and the department vicariously liable for the pupil’s acts and awarded damages to Jacobs.
The headmaster and the education department appealed to the SCA.
The SCA found that the headmaster was aware that the pupil had threatened to kill the teacher and should have taken the elementary precaution of keeping the pupil under his supervision.
The court held that it would interfere with an award made by a trial court only where there was a striking disparity between what the high court had awarded and what the SCA considered ought to have been awarded.
The SCA did not interfere with the damages amount awarded by the high court.