Principal in hot water for kicking out fighting kids

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

The legality of the actions of a school principal and his school's governing body in expelling two pupils and suspending three others for three months will be investigated by Mpumalanga's Department of Education.

The department's spokesman, Hlahla Ngwenya, said yesterday that it would look into reports that the principal of Malavutela High School in Marite, near Hazyview, had expelled two boys involved in a fight outside the school premises and had suspended three girls for three months for a similar offence.

Ngwenya said schools could call pupils before a disciplinary hearing, but did not have the power to expel pupils or suspend them for longer than 14 days.

"A school can send its recommendations to the provincial head of the Department of Education, who will either approve or dismiss them," he said.

Vusi Mona, 19, was attacked with a grass-slasher in a fight outside the school yard and sustained serious head injuries.

He and his attacker were expelled from Malavutela High last month.

"I don't know why I was expelled - I was the victim," the grade 10 pupil said this week.

Three schoolgirls involved in a fight were suspended for three months.

"If the suspension is longer than 14 days, the school must give reasons and must also say what will happen to the education of the children," Ngwenya said.

He said the department had not been informed of the expulsion and suspension of the pupils.

"In terms of the law, it is not [correct] procedure to dismiss a pupil without approval from the Department of Education. We would investigate the reasons for expelling a pupil and if there was a disciplinary hearing," Ngwenya said.

Principal Sello Moloto and the chairman of the school's governing body, Mack Ncanda, refused to speak to Sowetan .

"I will tell the people . not to give the school's phone number to people like you," Moloto said and slammed down the phone.