News clipping – iol online – 5 November 2010
Suspended pregnant pupil back at school
A grade nine pupil from Welkom was back in school after being suspended for being pregnant, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Friday.
The pupil was back at school on November 1, after being suspended on September 15. She had lodged a complaint with the commission who then intervened on her behalf.
The commission’s investigation found that the suspension violated three provisions for pregnant pupils.
The first was a provincial education policy that ensured pupils were not expelled from school because of pregnancy. The Constitution provided that the state could not unfairly discriminate based on pregnancy, which the school had to abide by as it was an organ of the state. The last provision was in the South African Schools Act, which only allowed exclusion from class if a pupil had been suspended and excluded after being found guilty of a misconduct as stipulated in a code of conduct.
Moaga said the school had argued that its code of conduct provided for a pupil not returning to school in the same year its child was born.
The commission was investigating the impact of the school’s policy on any other pupils who may have been affected but never approached the SAHRC for intervention.
It wanted to reassure the public that it did not condone pupil pregnancy as it viewed it as an impediment to effective learning and preparation for a healthy adult life.