Saturday Star

Court not bullied into returning pupil


THE father of a matric pupil, labelled as a “bully on steroids” has turned to the high court in an urgent bid to obtain an order to return him to Sutherland High in Centurion after he was expelled.

It is said that the boy, who cannot be identified, not only verbally abused and physically threatened a teacher, but that he also endangered the lives of the other pupils by flipping his table in the air and kicking his chair against a wall.

A pupil was injured during the incident last year and the teacher laid a charge of assault against the teenager.

Teachers told the court that he was unusually strong for his age and that he spent almost all his free time at the gym. They described him as a danger to himself and other pupils.

The teenager was expelled following a disciplina­ry hearing, which he said he never attended because he was not informed about it.

Sutherland High said he was given notice of the hearing, but neither he nor his parents attended.

The school refused to accept him back and his father agreed to enrol him elsewhere. But only a private college agreed to accept him, and his parents can’t afford the fees.

They now insist that Sutherland High take him back, but it won’t. His parents turned to the courts in a bid to force the school to backtrack, but Judge Sulet Potterill struck the matter from the roll, citing that the boy and his parents had created their own urgency.

Meanwhile, Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba issued a preferenti­al date – May 8 – when the matter would be heard on the normal court roll.

The boy’s lawyer, Anel Jacobs, said his client would remain at home until then. She said the boy was falling behind with his matric studies as the academic year had begun.

Jacobs said his expulsion had been invalid, as it was not endorsed by the Department of Education.

The teenager stated in court papers that a number of “shocking” and damning allegation­s were made against him during the disciplina­ry hearing.

These included that he used steroids and dagga, which he denied. He agreed that he was often absent, but said for the most of last year he had been unhappy at school.

“I always felt that most of the teachers decided before- hand that I am a troublesom­e student and threatened me since I am struggling academical­ly and also that I am large in stature,” he said.

He added that while he did not say he was never wrong, he was “working on these issues” and “he wanted to become a better scholar this year”.

But Sutherland High said it had enough. The court was told that nothing prohibited the boy’s parents from enrolling him at other institutio­ns.

It was said that he would not be allowed on the school’s premises because he had no control over his emotions and actions.

“It will simply be irresponsi­ble to allow him back. The governing body has a duty to protect all educators and learners from physical harm,” said Pieter Grobbelaar, a teacher at Sutherland High.

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