Has top ex-athlete crossed the line as a teacher?
The former golden boy of South African athletics, Llewellyn Herbert, has caused an uproar at the school he works for after photographs of him posing seminude and with two lines of white powder emerged.
Herbert, now the head of discipline and a sports coach at Brandwag High School in Benoni, was given a written warning by the school after the picture of him with the lines of powder started doing the rounds.
In the photo, the Olympic 400m hurdles medallist is seen smiling and holding a CD cover on which there are two thick lines of white powder.
The photo was taken close to a river, with people picnicking in the background. It is not clear which river it is.
Reverend Hendrik Claassen, chair of the school’s governing body, confirmed that the school had given Herbert a warning.
According to him, when Herbert was confronted about the picture, he said the photo had been taken before he was hired by the school last year.
But the picture with the powder is not the only one that has raised eyebrows at the school.
Other pictures of a topless Herbert with his jeans unzipped have also been circulating at the school. In some of the photos, Herbert is seen posing half naked and looking suggestively at the camera, while in other photos he is lying on a bed fully clothed and stroking a cat.
The father of a 14-year-old girl at the school told City Press’ sister publication, Rapport, that he would be going to the school tomorrow to take the matter up with management.
Herbert strongly denied that he had used drugs or other banned substances.
He said the powder in the photo “proves nothing”, before referring Rapport to his lawyer, Riaan Gissing.
Gissing said the allegations by the school against his client were part of a smear campaign.
“A parent is unhappy that Herbert acted against his son after he was caught using dagga. Our enquiries indicate that the parent has uttered untruths about Herbert,” he said.
One of the “untruths” is that, during a performance of Die Heuwels Fantasties at the school, Herbert apparently took banned substances in the bathroom.
Claassen said the governing body had conducted thorough investigations.
“His former girlfriend was not prepared to provide a written statement about this, and we could not further investigate the matter.”
He added that they had subjected Herbert to a drug test and the results had come back negative.
Commenting about the other photos, Claassen said many of them were on Herbert’s private Facebook page and not readily available. He said the school had now changed its social-media policy. “We will immediately act if we find any evidence, for example, of an adult sending photos of a sexual nature to a pupil,” he said.
Herbert was the South African 400m hurdles champion from 1996 to 2003.
A school Llewellyn Herbert works at is asking questions about what’s going on in these photos