Learners accuse teacher of sexual assault

Education department probe finds teacher not guilty but learners want him fired

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Photo of learners in a meeting
Thandokhulu learners protested today, calling for the dismissal of a teacher they accuse of sexual assault. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

About 50 learners at Thandokhulu High School in Cape Town protested today demanding that a teacher they accuse of sexual assault be fired.

The learners, in grades eight, nine and ten, marched through the school grounds to the front of the school singing, chanting slogans and holding placards reading: “We are not safe.”

One of the learners accusing the teacher of sexual assault told GroundUp that in May on the night he was sexually assaulted, he and other choir members had slept at the school because of choir practice. Before he went to sleep, the teacher had touched him on his private parts when he was fetching blankets.

Later that night, when he was with the other boys in the room, the teacher had found him awake and ordered him to go up to the teacher’s room. But when he found there was only one mattress in the teacher’s room, he left and reported the incident to student leaders.

The learner said he had also reported the incident to a deputy principal but had been told to “forget what happened”.

Another learner said the teacher was also accused of hitting a learner with a belt. He said the learners had a video to prove this. GroundUp saw the video but it was not clear.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Jessica Shelver said: “The matter was referred to Labour Relations by the school principal, Mr De Villiers. Labour Relations have confirmed that the educator was found not guilty of the allegations and the charges withdrawn.”

“The learners are reportedly protesting because they are not happy with the outcome,” she said.

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TOPICS:  Education

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