Now Bishops teacher risks being deregistered amid fresh investigation

2019-10-21 18:40
Bishops Diocesan College. (Image via Facebook)

Bishops Diocesan College. (Image via Facebook)

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The SA Council for Educators (SACE), which registers teachers, has launched its own investigation into the conduct of a female former Bishops teacher following allegations of a relationship with a male pupil.

"There is a SACE investigation because that teacher is registered with us," said spokesperson Thembinkosi Ndhlovu, in relation to Fiona Viotti, a former model turned history teacher and sports coach.

In terms of the SACE's rules, teachers are subject to a code of conduct and having a relationship with a pupil is considered out of bounds.

Ndhlovu said that in any SACE investigation, and not just this one, there could be recommendations that a disciplinary hearing be held.

Formal charges are laid and a teacher has the right to representation. 

Bishops: Inside the exclusive school rocked by sex scandal

Few would have predicted that a relationship between a pupil at Cape Town's elite Bishops Diocesan College and a female teacher would have snowballed this week to a take-down request to a porn site and a group of top lawyers being appointed for everybody involved.

The sanctions for a finding of misconduct state that a teacher can be fined, or reprimanded; or struck off the roll of registration for a particular period; or, struck off indefinitely.

"That means they can't be a teacher," said Ndhlovu.

Another sanction could be that a teacher's name is submitted to the social development department to be registered as a person who may not work with children.  

Ndhlovu said the department was receiving a lot of complaints - generally of teachers being accused of having relationships with pupils. 

"You're sending out your children to be learned, not to be the wives and husbands of old people," he added.

Earlier on Monday, News24 reported that Viotti was receiving medical care.

"She needs counselling, and she's under medical care," said attorney William Booth who was appointed by her family to monitor developments in the case. "People can be severely affected by this, emotionally."

The teacher had already resigned, Booth said.

He is assisting her and her family during the school's investigation after she resigned. 

READ: Bishops teacher: 'She was a very sweet girl, so we are all very shocked', parents say amid sex claims

Booth said he would not comment on the finer details of the allegations.

Last week, the school's headmaster, Guy Pearson, asked that pupils should speak out after it emerged that other boys might also have been affected. 

On Monday, Pearson said they would not be responding to any specific questions until the investigation by the attorneys and senior council was complete. 

"Given the sensitivities of the matter, we do not wish to respond until the investigation is complete and we have received their report," he added, 

"The investigation is ongoing. We have not set a deadline regarding its finalisation." 

The pupil's lawyer did not want to comment.

Read more on:    bishops diocesan college  |  cape town  |  sexual assault  |  education  |  crime
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