pupils face ban

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has issued a stern warning to pupils of the troubled Thornwood Secondary School in Pinetown, near Durban, to shape up or ship out.

Learning has been disrupted at the school for about three months now.

The pupils are boycotting classes after demanding the dismissal of the principal. They are also demanding that temporary teachers be made permanent.

The teachers were removed from the school after teaching there for three years.

The pupils claimed that replacing these teachers would disrupt their learning and progress.

Superintendent-general Cassius Lubisi issued a stern warning to pupils to stop calling for the dismissal of the principal and disrupting the functioning of the school.

The department had earlier sent officials at circuit level to resolve these issues and had instructed the pupils to return to class, but to no avail.

"The department is aware of the tensions among members of the in-school community at the school," Lubisi said.

But the pupils said they would not be intimidated by the department's warning because their grievances were genuine.

"No measure of disruption will achieve the unlawful dismissal of the principal or any other teacher," Lubisi said.

He has since instructed all pupils to return to class today.

"I direct all learners to be at the school, in class, at their desks by the first school bell," he said.

He warned that any pupil found loitering or engaging in disruptive action would face immediate suspension, pending stern disciplinary action in terms of the South African Schools Act.

Lubisi also notified the school's governing body that any collective disruption would lead to the possible closure of the school as stipulated in section 33 of the South African Schools Act.

Congress of South African Students provincial secretary, Sbonelo Shezi said yesterday it had been agreed with the pupils that they should return to class today.

This would be done pending an agreement with the department to let the temporary teachers continue until the end of the year.