Sack teachers in gymslip affairs

Frequent reports of scandalous activities at schools, mostly involving philandering teachers preying on schoolgirls, are alarming.

Frequent reports of scandalous activities at schools, mostly involving philandering teachers preying on schoolgirls, are alarming.

A perennial social problem, intimate teacher-pupil relationships have disappointingly become a common occurrence to the extent of being treated as water off a duck's back in some schools.

In many cases, the cavalier attitude towards the scandal can be blamed on the fact there tends to be little or no repercussions for the culprits.

Unwitting partners to the misdemeanour are principals themselves, who either turn a blind eye to such indiscretions or fail to detect the romantic goings-on because of their aloofness.

Our society must communicate an unequivocal message to schools that cradle-snatching teachers have no business to be in classes and must face serious censure. At best, they are guilty of compromising their role as mentors to the kids, to whom they have to be exemplary.

Worse still, gymslip affairs reflect failure by some quarters in the teaching fraternity to fathom the seriousness of their actions. Last week, provincial education authorities suspended a teacher for having a sexual relationship with a grade 12 pupil at Kgakwa High School in the Dendron area, near Polokwane.

In another shameful incident, a teacher allegedly raped his colleague at Pelo Ya Kgomo High School in Sekgosese near Modjadjiskloof.

We commend the Limpopo department of education for having moved swiftly to probe both incidents.

While our society frowns upon this kind of relationships, parents and education authorities have, however, not been sufficiently moved to take up the cudgels through school governing bodies.

And much less has been heard from the teachers' unions, who should be playing their part by denouncing deviant behaviour and the conspiracy of silence among their own. Pupils too must be encouraged to tell on teachers who sexually harass girls. But this can only happen when such cases are handled transparently and speedily by officialdom to avoid victimisation of complainants.

Instant dismissal must be an automatic sanction for such malfeasance.

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