Pupil’s exclusion slammed
THE case of a Pietermaritzburg pupil who was placed in solitary confinement for three days after her parents defaulted on school fee payments has placed the policies of independent schools in the firing line.
Outraged parents, reacting to the incident on social media this week, said the school was wrong to have acted in the way it did and that its policy was unconstitutional.
But the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (Isasa) maintains a tough stance on the issue of non-payment of school fees.
Isasa executive director Lebogang Montjane said no school excluded a pupil as a first resort.
Independent Media reported that the Epworth School Grade 10 pupil was placed in solitary after her parents fell behind in school fees which were R60 000 per term. But the parent claimed he was only R12 000 short. The pupil was unable to interact with her peers or attend classes.
“Often exhaustive efforts are made to contact a parent and communicate with them as to the precise nature of the debt and consequences of non-payment” but to no avail, said Montjane. He said these same parents were quick to accuse the school of being “unkind” to a child for excluding them from (unpaid) classes.
Children’s rights activist Ajith Ramgoon said: “The school lacks compassion.“The parent should move the child to a good public school where there is more warmth.”