Cape Town school to decide on way forward following video of teacher slapping pupil

The school governing body (SGB) at Sans Souci Girls High School, Cape Town, will meet on Wednesday to discuss what disciplinary action to take following a video on social media of a teacher slapping a pupil in class.

In a statement, the Western Cape minister of education Debbie Schäfer asserted that although “ill-discipline will not tolerated” by pupils, the use of “corporal punishment is unacceptable”.

The statement also says that the SGB will decide in their meeting whether the learner will also face disciplinary proceedings.

In the video, the teacher is seen arguing with the pupil and taking the pupil’s cell phone because it goes “against the code of conduct” of the school. The pupil can be heard answering back to the teacher who gets increasingly agitated and tells the pupil to leave her class. The pupil then pushes her desk towards the teacher and appears to push the teacher who responds by slapping her. 

According to Schäfer’s statement, there are parts of the video that have been edited out of the clip doing the rounds on social media which is why the department is conducting an investigation and getting statements from the other pupils in the class who witnessed the confrontation.

Schäfer has also called for members of the public to not assume that the incident is “racially motivated” until the SGB has completed its investigation.

Learners at the high school held a peaceful protest on Wednesday morning “in support of the educator” and they stated that the “incident was not race related” according to the statement.

The Western Cape education department says it takes a “zero tolerance stance on learners that transgress various disciplinary codes by attacking or assaulting their fellow learners or educators” but that it is critical that “educators exercise control when confronted with issues of ill-discipline”.

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