Grade 11 pupil gives birth at school

2012-08-03 00:00

A TEENAGER who concealed her pregnancy from teachers was unable to hide her secret any longer when she went into labour and gave birth at her school.

The 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil delivered a healthy baby at Marburg Secondary School on Monday, two months short of her full term.

Education officials were unable to confirm the baby’s gender.

Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the infant was born in the school’s sick bay.

The young mother, who cannot be identified because she is a minor, suffered with labour pains throughout the day until after school when she could bear the agony no longer.

Mlotshwa said a fellow pupil saw her in distress and alerted the principal, Salim Vallee.

He immediately called for a state ambulance, which failed to arrive.

“Mr Vallee then called a doctor and the pupil gave birth in sick bay,” said Mlotshwa.

The doctor was in attendance during birth.

Mlotshwa said the pupil did not tell teachers she was pregnant and she showed no signs of carrying a baby.

He confirmed that mother and baby were both healthy and doing well.

“Standard procedure is that the pregnant pupil must not be expelled from school.

“She must be allowed to attend until it’s not safe for her and the unborn baby to do so,” said Mlotshwa.

There were campaigns in place, such as My Life, My Future, which aimed to help schoolchildren with complex issues like pregnancy.

“We also have life orientation as a learning area, where learners are taught about life skills, including sexual behaviour.”

Teenage pregnancy has been taken up by Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo as a focus area for his department.

The MEC has spoken out at public events this year, calling for a substantial reduction in the number of pregnant teenagers.

“I believe that we need to substantially reduce the rate of pregnancy among 16-to-19-year-olds and that there are ways to achieve this goal within five to 10 years,” Dhlomo said at New Year while visiting new mothers in the province.

He cited two major reasons for this focus: the first being the risk of teenagers contracting HIV and other STDs, and the othr being the danger for young mothers of succumbing to complications while giving birth.

Yesterday his department spokesperson, Lifa Radebe, was asked to establish why the ambulance had failed to arrive for the Marburg teen.

Radebe said Th e Witness should not expect an answer before going to press.


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