School expels pregnant pupil

The family of a Grade 12 pupil is fuming after her expulsion from school because she is pregnant.

Shoki, not her real name, 17, a pupil at the Makhosini Secondary School in Block HH Soshanguve, Pretoria, is two months pregnant and has been told to no longer report for school and to return all textbooks.

Shoki and her brother, Mike, were told that the school did not have a midwife to look after her. If she wanted to continue attending she should bring a parent to babysit her.

Gauteng department of education spokesperson Charles Phahlane said: "It is not the government's policy to require parents to accompany pregnant learners to school," Pahlane said.

"Expectant learners are supposed to attend as usual until a month before delivery. If they are ready after delivery they can return to school for their examinations.

"Schools are asked to support pregnant learners so that they are not too disadvantaged."

He said the department was going to send officials to the school to investigate.

Shoki said the trouble started on February 21 when she felt nauseous in class

"I started vomiting. A female teacher immediately took me to the deputy principal's office."

She said her condition continued in the deputy's office.

"The teacher told the deputy principal she suspected I was pregnant. The deputy told me to return all textbooks and not to come back to the school.

"After returning to the classroom, the deputy came and reiterated that I should not report for school the following day

"At the time of my expulsion the pregnancy was not even visible and there were no other symptoms except for vomiting."

Mike said they had a meeting with the principal and district officials in an attempt to have Shoki readmitted.

"The meeting was on Friday and the principal told me to my face that the school did not have a midwife to look after my little sister.

"If she wanted to continue with schooling, she should bring a parent to school everyday to look after her.

"We agreed that she would return to school last Tuesday.

"When she went to school she was given a letter in which the principal insisted that my mother, who is a domestic worker, should leave her job and report at school from Wednesday from 8am to 4pm daily until Shoki could deliver her baby."