Teacher arrested for allegedly sexually abusing pupils at Valhalla Primary School

2019-02-07 18:12
Valhalla Primary School.

Valhalla Primary School. (Twitter)

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A 55-year-old school teacher has been arrested following allegations of 23 sexual assault cases at the Valhalla Primary School in Centurion, Pretoria.

Police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the man was being kept at the Pretoria Central police station. He was arrested on Thursday, by members of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit.  

He is due to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday.

"His arrest comes after the allegations that he sexually assaulted several children between the ages of 10 and 12. These allegations date back to 2017 and/or 2018. Several statements have been obtained from the concerned parents. Police and the Department of Education are jointly conducting investigations into these allegations.

"At this stage, it is not clear as to how many children were affected. Any further developments will be communicated," said Dlamini.

On Wednesday, the Gauteng Department of Education promised that they were going to serve the teacher with a letter of suspension from the school. However, the man was still at school.

It is alleged that the teacher, who joined the school in 2017, inappropriately touched 23 learners.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed the cases were reported on Tuesday, after parents became aware of the allegations. 

Mabona said the teacher would be moved to the district offices and would not be allowed onto the school premises, after being handed a suspension letter. 

The teacher joined the school in 2017 after being appointed by the school governing body. His position was made permanent by the department this year. 

The allegations of abuse emerged after members of the Tshwane Metro Police Department visited the school on January 23 to teach learners about sexual offences and abuse.

READ: Pretoria primary school teacher suspended over sexual abuse claims

"The learners then confided in the officers that they have been touched inappropriately by the teacher. Officers reported that information to the principal who alerted the district. Twenty-three learners claimed that they have been sexually assaulted by the teacher," Mabona said.

School 'tried to protect the culprit'

Mabona added that the school had to follow processes before it could suspend the teacher.

"For now, it is a silent suspension. He will be removed from the school to report to the district offices. The department can't pay people who are sitting at home. Currently, he is not in school, as soon as we get hold of him he will be directed to the district offices.

"Parents don't want to see him anymore in the school and we understand that. There are cases opened against him with the police. Police will work with parents. This is an urgent case that needs to be attended to quickly."

Mabona said they would also investigate why the case was only reported on Tuesday and, should it be found that the previous acting principal and some teachers had been aware of the allegations, action would be taken.

 


One parent, who has two children at the school, said on Tuesday afternoon that she was shocked and was demanding answers.

"I am very angry that the school kept such an ugly thing as a secret from us as parents. There is no communication between the school and us as parents. They knew about this thing and they tried to protect the culprit. We are not satisfied with the decision taken by the school. The school needs to improve its communication method," she said.

Another parent said her child could not be in the same school as the male teacher.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  education  |  child abuse
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