A group of parents and school governing body members brought teaching and learning at Linge Primary in Nyanga to halt this week, claiming that children had given evidence in a disciplinary hearing without their parents’ consent.
The disciplinary matter involved a teacher who had been accused of sexual harassment.
When Vukani arrived at the school on Tuesday September 22, parents and members of school governing body held placards demonstrating their frustrations and anger.
Governing body treasurer Dumisani Qwabe said they had only learnt of the matter last month when the teacher had appealed his dismissal.
He said their own investigation had found that the allegations against this teacher had been levelled last year. They were shocked that their children had been used to give evidence in the hearing without the parents’ consent, he said.
“Proper procedure was not followed in this matter. Parents decided to shut down the school until this matter is resolved. We are of the view that certain teachers are fighting their own battles using our children without us knowing.”
He claimed that forms had given to parents to sign but nobody had explained to them what they were all about.
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the pupils had not been interviewed or used as witnesses without parental consent. That was standard practice, she said, and no objections had been raised regarding parental consent.
“And the matter is currently under arbitration and therefore we cannot comment further,” she added.
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Parent Rethabile Moahloli claimed that two teachers came to her house and informed her that there was a form she needed to sign as the child would be part of the children that participate in a school trip. However, she said the teachers quickly changed their tune and stated that the child would give evidence about a certain issue.
Ms Moahloli said she asked if the evidence was incriminating or not but the teachers assured her that it was not something serious.
But she was shocked when she heard that her child was among those who gave evidence in the hearing.
“I don’t why these teachers would make us sign such forms without informing us. We were never informed about this. How could the department not inform us? This does not make sense. I believe that these teachers are using our children to fight their own battles,” she said.
Another parent, Matilda Qina, said it was clear that there is lot of issues going on at the school and parents believed the teacher had been unfairly dismissed.