Cape Town – Governing body teachers dismissed for sexual offences will find it much harder to move on to another school, thanks to amendments to a provincial policy document.
The Western Cape Education Department’s Abuse No More document, which focuses on managing child abuse, was amended following various developments relating to the care and protection of children.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said that previously, if a teacher appointed by a school governing body was found guilty at a governing body hearing of abusing a pupil, the teacher would be dismissed.
Some of these teachers would move from school to school where they would reoffend. Because the appointment had been made by the governing body the department didn’t investigate.
But this was set to change.
“With the new amendments in legislation as reflected in section 110 of the Children’s Act and section 54 of the Sexual offences Act there is (a) duty to report to the police and the Department of Social Development as these two pieces of legislation have registers for people not suited to work with children, and the Sexual Offences Act has a register for those found guilty of a sexual offence.”
The document also provides guidelines to teachers on how to manage suspicion of abuse.
Social workers and a public prosecutor had compiled the document.
“All Western Cape Education Department employees must ensure that they are fully conversant with the reporting procedures and the content of this protocol, and that they have a clear understanding of their roles in the management of child abuse and sexual offences against children.”
Copies of the document and a training video had been made available to all schools.