KZN school ordered to stop action against students with EFF shirts

The National Department of Basic Education says a planned disciplinary hearing against two of the three pupils at Maritzburg College in KwaZulu-Natal will not go ahead.

An image of the boys holding Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) branded T-shirts on school grounds went viral last week with some social media users calling for harsh punishment.

The KZN Education Department has condemned the school’s decision.

It has also emerged that one of the pupils in the image was allegedly called the k-word by a deputy head-boy at the school.

Spokesperson for Basic Education Department, Elijah Mhlanga, says a thorough investigation will be conducted into the matter.

It seems these learners were aggrieved by that incident and they were not satisfied with it and felt that they would deal with their last day in school to express themselves in the way that they did.

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the Basic Education Department

The HoD of KZN Education has this morning sent a letter to the school governing body and school principal to instruct them to stop with the disciplinary processes, it should go away for two reasons.

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the Basic Education Department

The learners are starting examinations next week and in a month they will be out of the school. If you look at the processes that need to be followed you would have to keep them for much longer and our major concern is that the school did not think about protecting the interest of the learners by not subjecting them to mental stress at this time.

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the Basic Education Department

Meanwhile, Head of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Centre at Wits University, Professor Brahm Fleisch says freedom of expression is permitted as long as the pupil's actions are in line with the school's code of conduct and South Afrian law.

There is obviously a restriction and that restriction says that there cannot be vulgar words, insubordination and insults. So as long as the learners are fulfilling the obligation underlined in Freedom of Expression under the code they should be permitted to have those T-shirts.

Professor Brahm Fleisch, Head of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Centre at Wits University

This certainly falls under freedom of expression, it seems they were using the opportunity to express their views not necessarily lobbying for a political party.

Professor Brahm Fleisch, Head of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Centre at Wits University

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