Pietermaritzburg - Criminal charges have been laid by KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane against a teacher accused of statutory rape with six pupils at Ekucabangeni High School in Nquthu, the MEC confirmed on Thursday."We have a responsibility to protect the children whose parents send them to school in the hopes that they will be safe," he told News24."But this teacher seems to think they are there to be abused."Dlungwane laid statutory rape charges at the local police station earlier on Thursday afternoon. The teacher, also accused of filming himself performing sexual acts with one of the pupils, has been suspended and an investigation into his alleged conduct was underway. News24 earlier reported that a graphic video clip, which had been brought to the attention of the department, prompted Dlungwane to visit the school on Thursday, where he met with stakeholders including the school governing body and the members of the Representative Council of Learners.He was reportedly told that the teacher was accused of having abused a number of pupils after luring them to his cottage.Dlungwane said six girls between the ages of 14 and 16 allege the teacher had sexually assaulted them.Psychologists will be sent to the school to provide counselling. The parents of the girls who claim to have been raped have also been encouraged to lay criminal charges, Dlungwane added.