Expulsions, shock after alleged rape of Joburg primary school pupil

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The Gauteng Department of Education confirmed the incident‚ which took place on the school’s grounds in a middle-class suburb in Randburg.

“The school conducted a disciplinary hearing and the recommendation was that the involved learners must be expelled from the school. The school has prepared the recommendations and it is now with the (Gauteng head of department) for his consideration‚” said departmental spokesperson Oupa Bodibe.

Four boys were initially believed to have been involved but only two were recommended for expulsion.

According to a parent‚ they are in Grade 7.

The alleged rape occurred in March but was not immediately reported by the victim. The girl’s parents came forward after she complained of pain and was taken to a doctor‚ the department said.

“All affected learners have been referred to the Teddy Bear Clinic to receive psychological support. The matter has been reported to the SA Police Service and the said learners will be appearing in a court of law.”

A parent of a child at the school‚ not related to the incident‚ said that the school informed other parents of the case at a meeting on Monday night.

“I don’t feel confident about the safety of my children at the school‚” another parent said.

A school governing body representative referred TimesLIVE’s questions to the education department.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Louw said three children appeared in the Child Justice Court on Tuesday in connection with the case.

Louw said the case against two of the pupils was withdrawn.

One will return to court later this week.

Clinical director at the Teddy Bear Clinic Shaheda Omar said it was positive that the matter was being dealt with through relevant channels.

“Many other schools go underground and want to handle it in-house. The school did the right thing to go to law enforcement agencies. It is not a punitive approach. It is a positive move to assist both the victim and the initiators.”

Children between the ages of 11 and 14 may not be held criminally liable for their actions‚ unless a court rules that they had the maturity to distinguish between right and wrong.

In most cases children at this age are not found to have criminal capacity‚ after undergoing assessment by a probation officer‚ Omar said.

If the assessment finds the child be a high risk to themselves or others‚ they must be referred to a secure care facility‚ and may be tried in a criminal court. Children may be found to be high risk depending on the frequency‚ severity and duration of the behaviour.

“Many of these children come from a history of trauma. We cannot condone their behaviour so we separate the child from the behaviour. We teach them impulse control‚ relapse prevention and victim empathy‚” Omar said.

She said it was important that the safety of the victim was ensured and that all the children involved and bystanders receive trauma debriefing and support counselling.

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