'Smelly' teacher awarded R20k

2013-11-24 09:03

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Mthatha - Eastern Cape teacher Viola Bikitsha has been awarded R20 000 after the Mthatha High Court found her school principal had violated her dignity after telling her she smelt like a dead dog.

According to the Sunday Times, the issue arose after Nokwanda Ntshukumbana, the principal of Mangqukwana Junior Secondary School in Libode, attributed a persistent foul smell in the staff room to Bikitsha. She called the teacher in to her office to discuss the smell and suggested she seek medical attention. The doctor who examined Bikitsha found she did not smell bad.

Angered by the principal’s action, Bikitsha took the matter to court. She initially claimed R1.5m from both the MEC for education and Ntshukumbana for emotional shock, violation of dignity and reputation, and invasion of privacy.

Judge Johannes Eksteen found her dignity had been infringed.

"Smelly" children

In a mirror case to Bikitsha's a teacher in the New York in the United States caused an uproar last year when she accused parents of sending their children to school smelly and dirty.

According to reports in the Mirror and elsewhere, the teacher sent a note home for parents to sign, complaining that she could not go near some of the children and did not want to touch them, because they came to school in "soiled" clothes and were "unkempt".

The teacher was not disciplined for sending the note, although she did so without the head teacher's permission.

Read more on:    mthatha

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