June 1 2011
A sex scandal has rocked a Soshanguve secondary school after allegations of sexual misconduct involving five or more pupils - and a case of attempted rape - were levelled against the principal of the school.
The principal has since been suspended by the Department of Education.
He appeared before a magistrate for attempted rape last Friday and has since been released on bail.
If he is found guilty of having sexual relations with the pupils the principal could be dismissed.
On Tuesday Soshanguve residents said they were shocked and disappointed by the principal, who is alleged to have been involved in sexual relations with at least five pupils at the school.
When a fight broke out between some of the girls, claims of attempted rape surfaced, prompting the mother of one of the alleged victims to report him to the police.
“He is alleged to have tried to rape a 16-year-old and 17-year-old at the school, but we arrested him when the mother of a 17-year-old reported him for attempted rape,” police spokesman Warrant Officer Dikgatso Thebe said.
Department of Education spokesman Charles Phahlane said a “precautionary suspension” followed the principal’s arrest for sexual misconduct.
Trouble at the school began last week when two girls discovered that they were both dating the principal.
When they got into a fight, other girls revealed that they too were having sexual relations with him.
“Two other girls said he had tried to rape them but they had been intimidated into keeping quiet,” a community member said.
He was arrested on Friday and appeared in court the same day.
Chaos broke out when the principal arrived at the school on Monday morning, with pupils abandoning class in protest against his presence.
“The principal went to the school before the letter could be served on him.
“He has been advised of the letter and is on precautionary suspension pending an internal investigation,” Phahlane said.
On Tuesday community members told the Pretoria News that they would prefer he be removed from the school permanently because their teenage daughters were not safe.
“Not only has this man betrayed our trust but he has also dragged his whole family into an unnecessary mess,” one visibly upset father said.
“This is very bad and could mess up the lives of our daughters for a long time,” another said.
“At no point should teachers look at girls as sexual objects, no matter how they might dress or carry themselves,” he added.
Parents said the principal had taken advantage of his position and coerced the girls into the relationships by making false promises.
Meanwhile, the school’s deputy schoolmaster has been appointed to act as principal and yesterday normal schooling resumed.
Phahlane said support has been offered to the pupils and counselling began on Monday.
“The department has organised a workshop on Child Abuse Protocol for educators and counselling for the victims,” he said.
“The department condemns the alleged abhorrent behaviour of the educator in the strongest terms.
“If the allegations are proven true, such educators should never be allowed near pupils again,” he said.
A weekend meeting has been called for parents and the community to discuss the educator’s alleged conduct.