High Court reverses schoolboy expulsion
THE High Court has ordered Roman Catholic Churchrun Embakwe High School to re-admit an OrdinaryLevel pupil who was expelled from the school for praying in an “unacceptable” Pentecostal way. The pupil is sitting for national public examinations. The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha follows an urgent chamber application by Promise Mpala’s mother on behalf of her 17-year-old son challenging his expulsion from the Plumtree school by the headmaster, Mr Martin Ndlovu.
The schoolboy was expelled after he was found praying with 17 other pupils at the school grounds in a manner deemed unacceptable and contrary to the Catholic way of worship. The schoolboys were allegedly speaking in tongues. Promise’s mother, Mrs Nqobile Mpala, in her application had through her lawyer Mr Bruce Masamvu of Dube-Tachiona and Tsvangirai Legal Practitioners, cited Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora, Mr Ndlovu, the school’s headmaster and Embakwe High School as the respondents.
Justice Kamocha ordered the school to immediately re-admit Promise into the school with full benefits of boarding and library facilities.
The judge also barred the school authorities from interfering with Promise’s school and examination attendance.
He said Mr Ndlovu had no authority to suspend a pupil without first notifying the parent Ministry.
The headmaster suspended Promise pending exclusion confirmation from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
The headmaster, through the Civil Division of the Attorney-General’s Office, argued that the pupil conducted himself in a manner that was not accepted by the school authorities in a number of occasions in violation of the school rules.
“His attention was drawn to his unacceptable way of praying on 17 April 2016. He promised to desist from that kind of behaviour while at the school until he finalised his O-Level studies,” said Ms Rejoice Hove of the AG’s Office.
Mrs Mpala accused the school authorities of physically and psychologically victimising her son and interfering with his right to education for no justifiable reason.
Promise and his friends were summoned to Mr Ndlovu’s office two weeks ago after they were found praying to pass exams in a Pentecostal manner instead of the Roman Catholic away. Promise, who the school authorities say had a previous warning, was then expelled while his friends were warned. Mrs Mpala, in her founding affidavit, said when she arrived at the school three days after the expulsion, she discovered that her son had already been evicted from his dormitory and ordered to sleep in a storeroom alone. She argued that she stood to suffer irreversible financial prejudice after having paid boarding fees.
“I paid boarding fees in order for my son to be able to learn and write examinations in the comfort of school premises as well as use library facilities,” said Mrs Mpala.
She accused the authorities of being mischievous and acting outside the rules governing the running of the school. — @mashnets.