Maternity leave for school girls was discussed at a recent conference in KwaZulu-Natal convened by the provincial Education Department.
Delegates heard that pregnant pupils were often moody and sometimes aggressive towards teachers.
The Schools Act makes provision for pregnant girls to go to special schools with medical facilities, but there are not many such schools.
In an Independent Online poll, 241 or 26 percent of respondents said "yes" and 675 or 73 percent said "no" to maternity leave for pupils.
"Maternity leave is tantamount to penalising female pupils," said the Democratic Teachers' Union.
The situation now
l Schools are not allowed to dismiss girls who become pregnant;
l Pregnant pupils are allowed to be at school for as long as they are physically cable of attending;
l Some schools provide pregnant girls with home-study materials;
l Girls can return to school after delivery.