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Teacher back at school after fight

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The teacher was back at school on Monday, after he was placed on 'precautionary suspension'

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THE DU TOITSPAN Primary School teacher, who was placed on precautionary suspension following an incident during which he forced two Grade 6 pupils to fight each other in front of the entire class, has returned to teaching at the school.

The teacher was back at school on Monday, after he was placed on “precautionary suspension” following the incident on August 14. He told two pupils to come to the front of the class and “moer” (hit) each other after they became involved in an argument.

He then told them that this was “how problems are solved”.

Both boys sustained injuries during the incident, while the mother of one of the pupils opened a criminal case against the teacher.

Spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, at the time confirmed that the teacher had been placed on precautionary suspension, pending the outcome of an investigation.

“The teacher is an SGB (school governing body) appointment, and thus we are providing them with all the necessary support to finalise the investigation. As part of our support, social workers are at the school, providing counselling to pupils who were directly and indirectly affected,” Van der Merwe said at the time.

Yesterday he confirmed that the teacher had returned to the classroom after he was sanctioned with a suspended dismissal.

“The department can confirm that the teacher from Du Toitspan Primary School, who instigated a fight amongst two pupils, was found guilty during his disciplinary hearing and sanctioned with a suspended dismissal. This means that the teacher will return to the classroom and if he is found guilty of a similar offence or action, he will immediately be dismissed without a disciplinary hearing,” Van der Merwe said.

He further stated that the teacher was a SGB appointee and therefore the disciplinary hearing and sanction were issued by the SGB, while the department supervised the procedure.

The sanction was “informed by the fact that the teacher is a first-time offender and showed genuine remorse for the unfortunate incident”.

“The department will continue to monitor the situation at the school and protect the interest of all our pupils,” Van der Merwe said.

The mother of one of the pupils involved in the fight, however, said that she was shocked to hear from her son that the teacher had returned to class.

“The only communication I received from the department after the incident was when they sent two representatives to me, who said that they were ‘disappointed’ that I had gone to the media with the story. I am still waiting for feedback,” she said.