Sans Souci teacher and pupil suspended

A video showing a scuffle between a San Souci pupil and a teacher has gone viral. Picture: Screengrab

The Sans Souci High School teacher filmed slapping a pupil has been charged with common assault and is due to appear in court later this month.

The clip shows the teacher slapping the pupil after the two are seen arguing over the pupil not having her school book and having her phone in her hand (“’Slap’ teacher faces discipline,” Tatler February 7).

Last week, the Tatler reported that the teacher would face disciplinary action after Western Cape Education Department (WCED) visited the school, following the incident on Wednesday February 6.

The pupils also held a protest on the day in support of the teacher, saying the incident was not race related.

WCED spokeswoman Bronagh Hammond said the teacher and pupil had since been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

“They have both been informed by the governing body that disciplinary steps would be taken against them,” she said.

The two have also laid charges of common assault against each other at Claremont police station.

“The teacher was already charged and is expected to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday February 27. The pupil will be charged soon,” said station commander Colonel Maree Louw.

In a statement, the governing body said it condemned all acts of violence, abuse and discrimination in any form from anyone.

“We are well aware of the extremely disturbing incidents that occurred in one of our classes and have initiated the remedial processes as prescribed by the school’s code of conduct and within the framework of the South African Schools Act.

“After due consultation with all stakeholders, both parties involved will be dealt with in accordance with the law in a fair and transparent process.

“Counselling has been made available to all parties. The school is continuing with the normal academic and extra-mural programmes,” the statement read.

Public opinion on social media remains divided over the incident.

Lesley Uys wrote: “This incident, with the pupil violently shoving a desk into the teacher and getting physically abusive with her, thereby assaulting her, is unacceptable. It was not corporal punishment, it was self-defence. Disgusting that this pupil was not instantly expelled.

“No teacher should have to tolerate such disrespect and assault in their place of work. I sincerely hope the WCED gives this teacher their full support.”

While, Lwazi Mlaba wrote: “The teacher may well not be racist, but she certainly is wrong to have resorted to violence and the manner she responded to the child. Racist? Maybe not, but definitely unprofessional in that instance.”

Thuwaibah Harnekar said Sans Souci was a great school with great teachers.

“I hope all the staff at Sans Souci will support the teacher whose video has gone viral for slapping a student who bullied the teacher. It’s time teachers stand up to disrespectful kids who abuse them on a daily basis.”

Ms Hammond said the school was considering programmes for its teachers to help them manage ill-disciplined pupils.

“The WCED does not condone the use of any violence in our schools,” she said.

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