Urgent intervention needed to ensure Gauteng independent schools don’t violate learners’ rights

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng demands that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) ensure that independent schools adhere to the code of conduct and uphold the rights of learners.

This follows a recent incident involving a 14-year-old Grade 9 pupil at Cornerstone College, a private school in Tshwane. It has come to our attention that on July 19th, a young learner experienced a distressing situation where she urinated on herself during class while on her period. Furthermore, we are appalled by reports suggesting that the school’s principal allegedly ordered her staff to identify the student, referring to her as a “disappointment to her school.”

The South African Constitution unequivocally defends the right to dignity for all its citizens, including learners. The dignity of this young pupil was violated, not only during the incident itself but also in the aftermath, when she was allegedly subjected to humiliation, detention, and punishment instead of the counselling and support she needed.

Considering these deeply concerning allegations, we condemn this incident in the strongest terms.

Furthermore, we urge that the affected learner be provided with urgent counselling to help her cope with the emotional distress resulting from this incident. It is essential to prioritise her well-being and ensure she receives the necessary care and support to recover from this traumatic experience. These types of incidents lead to mocking and bullying by fellow learners, which may lead to the learner dropping out of school.

GDE has initiated an investigation, and we look forward to their findings and subsequent actions. This matter must be addressed swiftly and comprehensively to prevent any further harm to the affected learner and to maintain the integrity of our educational institutions.

The DA will closely monitor the developments in this case to ensure that all parties involved, including school staff, are held accountable for their actions or inactions.

In addition, we demand that GDE emphasise the importance of upholding the rights of learners and respecting their human dignity within educational institutions. No learner should ever experience such humiliation and mistreatment while pursuing their education.