MEC rules on Parsons Hill Primary row and orders parents to supply documents.
Following a turbulent year characterised by bickering between their parents and their school, three Nelson Mandela Bay brothers who were caught in the middle – ultimately being given their marching orders by the school – were yesterday allowed to return to the school.
The three Parsons Hill Primary School pupils’ parents – who were once banned from the school premises – were relieved when the department gave them the goahead on Tuesday to send their children back to school yesterday.
Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula on Tuesday ruled on an appeal made by the parents after their children were expelled from the school – allegedly for the parents’ failure to submit some of the necessary admission documents.
Makupula ordered that the pupils return to school, pending the submission of the documents by January 28. The appeal to Makupula came after an application by the couple to the Port Elizabeth High Court to have the expulsion set aside was dismissed last month.
Judge Glen Goosen ordered Parsons Hill and the parents to sort out their squabbles using proper internal channels before approaching the courts, but set aside the school’s decision to ban the parents from the school, saying it was up to the head of the Education Department to admit or refuse admission to a public school.
Makupula said while the high court judgment may have ruled in favour of the couple by setting aside the banning order, it was “not done on the merits of the matter, but rather on a procedural aspect”.
“An atmosphere conducive to learning must be maintained [at a school]. It is noted that to achieve this, the principal and the school governing body were forced to take the extraordinary step of banning the parents from the school,” he said.
“In the matter before me it is evident that the children are not the cause of the animosity. In this regard it is noted that the school does not allege that the children misbehaved in any way. It is also clear that the children progressed well in their school work.”
The war started in about March last year when the couple expressed concern at their 10-year-old’s performance in Grade 5, which was followed by numerous altercations between the mother and a teacher.
In May, the couple were banned from the school and the pupils expelled in August, with the school citing the parents’ refusal to submit identity documents and payslips.
Makupula has ordered that the school notify the parents, in writing, which documents are outstanding by tomorrow, and that the couple submit those documents by Wednesday.
– Zandile Mbabela