Not permitted to attend matric dance because of outstanding school fees? These are your rights

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Photo by lucas souza from Pexels
Photo by lucas souza from Pexels

At Parent24 we aim to help parents and students navigate the sometimes tricky minefield of school rules and policies. We answer complex questions where possible, and approach experts for advice.

As matric dance season approaches, this concerned parent has written to us, worried that their son will miss out on his matric dance this year because of late school fees.

"My son's school is hosting their annual matric dance on the last day of the school term. We were informed by the school that he will not be permitted to attend his matric dance because of outstanding school fees.

In addition the matric educators are harassing the learner's constantly about school fees. 

Kindly advise if this is lawful, as the chairperson of the SGB  stated that it is solely a school event, and will be done by the school requirements.

What is confusing about this statement is that this is a public school. Further to this, the learners and parents foot the cost for the event. 

Please advise what recourse do I have as a parent?"  

Also read: Withholding school reports, for any reason, is against the law

We take a look at the law

We spoke to Sue Larkan, founder of Tabansi and an advocate for parent's rights, who again stressed that no learner may be excluded or refused attendance for outstanding fees.

Student's who have any outstanding fees, be it school fees, late textbook fines or other, may not be excluded from: 

1) The curriculum of a Public School 
2) Extra mural activities
3) Excursions or camps
4) Social Activities of a Public School 
5) Report, testimonials, matric certificates, transfer cards and so on

"Additionally," Larkan explains, "the staff may not discuss the account with the learner, or transfer guilt onto the learner."

"The account is not the learners responsibility. School fees is a matter between the parent and the school governing body (SGB) not the teacher." 

Must read: School fee exemptions made easier for single parents

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