As learners across the country returned to their classes on Tuesday to begin the fourth and the final term, 12-year-old Thandikhaya Mzo, had to stay at home because he is serving a suspension meted out in the preceding term.The learner from the local Blue Downs Primary School has been home for more than a schooling month. He was suspended on 24 August.According to his mother, the school claimed her son was suspended for “disruptive” behaviour and disturbing other learners. Nokonwaba Mzo says: “The school wrote me a letter stating that he(Thandikhaya) misbehaves in class, and that he is not doing his work, which is why they suspended him,”.A disciplinary hearing notice dated 8 August, claims that the child was charged with “repeatedly disrupting classes”, “repeatedly assaulting learners” and “touching the private parts of learner” and cautions against a possible expulsion from the school(sic).However, Mzo says neither the department nor the school had worked with her or had intervened to ensure her son remains in class.However, Bronagh Hammond, a spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department, said they were not aware of the case, but after getting in touch with the school, she refuted claims that the learner was suspended. She called for the learner to return to school: “This is a busy term of assessments and it is important that the learner is present,” said Hammond. Mzo said, leading up to the hearing scheduled for 16 August, she received WhatsApp messages advising her to come to the school. “Can you please ask Mr. Mzo to come to school to fetch Thandikhaya. He was involved in an incident with a girl who he touched inappropriately. Can you please come and fetch him. He isnt allow back in class,” read one message.Mzo said at sometimes she would miss work to attend to some concerns raised by the school about her son.She claimed that at one stage, her 12 year-old was even locked outside of the school gates. Mzo said in one of the hearings, her child was cleared of the third charge, but a few days later she was again called by the school to fetch her son over an assault charge. This is contrary to the South African Schools Act which prohibits learners from staying at home. V Continued on page 3.