The President of NAPTOSA (National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa), Mr Basil Manuel, expressed deep shock and outrage at the news report of the sexual assault of an eight-year-old girl at a school in Orange Farm by a fourteen year-old boy. This incident is symptomatic of serious problems regarding discipline in our schools. Equally disturbing is the report of a teacher viewing pornography that was projected onto a screen in a classroom during class teaching time. “There is no place in schools for a teacher found guilty of such behaviour”.
“What has gone wrong?” asked Mr Manuel. NAPTOSA is of the view that there are many issues which the Department of Basic Education should address as a matter of urgency. Provincial Education Departments often do not support schools with the enforcement of Codes of Conduct. The decisions of School Governing Bodies are, in many cases, overturned and schools are compelled to reverse suspensions and expulsions.
The Department of Education needs to uphold and expand the structures and policies that are in place to ensure the safety of our children in schools.
Teachers found guilty of sexual assault should not be allowed to return to our schools. Guilty learners should be accommodated in alternative education support structures. The perception exists that the rights of perpetrators overrides the rights of teachers and the majority of learners, said Mr Manuel.
Mr Manuel stated that school management teams need to be empowered with appropriate training to deal with these matters and be supported by the Department. However, school management should be held accountable for matters of safety of learners.
The situation in our schools can only be normalised if all role players, including the Department of Education, parents, learners and communities put a stop to the moral degeneration pervading our society.
END OF STATEMENT
Mr Basil Manuel - 079 508 6228 (President)
Mr Henry Hendricks – 082 577 9297 (Executive Director)