Principal who slapped pupils changes tune

A principal at Bopedi Bapedi Secondary School slaps a pupil in the face.
A principal at Bopedi Bapedi Secondary School slaps a pupil in the face.

The principal who quit his job after a video showing him slapping pupils for not doing their school work went viral, has withdrawn his resignation.

MEC for education Polly Boshielo said the headmaster of Bopedi Bapedi Secondary School, ML Maesela, withdrew his resignation. He now faces disciplinary processes.

"The department received a report from the district that Mr Maesela submitted a resignation letter dated August 14, 2019, which was found to be defective. On August 15, 2019, he was invited to clarify the defect, but instead he submitted a letter withdrawing the resignation," she said.

"Given the fact that the affected educator has withdrawn the resignation, the department has authority to pursue disciplinary processes. The department is busy with investigations and a decision will be taken once investigations are concluded," said Boshielo.

It is alleged the principal slapped the pupils for failing to do their physical science assignment.

Maesela had been the school head since 2010, and despite the seriousness of using the outlawed corporal punishment on pupils, in a Sowetan report last week other learners described him as a caring and a hard working teacher.

Professional Educators Union (PEU) chair Klaas Mohlatloe said corporal punishment was a big problem across the country.

"The employer is not doing enough to communicate alternatives to corporal punishment. Teachers are confronted with serious challenges including violence in schools.

"We agree corporal punishment has been abolished, but we urge the department to hold quarterly workshops to communicate with teachers," Mohlatloe said.

Boshielo added: "The department does not tolerate educators who administer corporal punishment [as] is outlawed."

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