Cape Town – The mother of a Grade 7 learner is furious with Boston Primary in Bellville because she claims they withheld her son’s school report and embarrassed him in front of his classmates over a lost textbook.
The parent, Lynne Abrahams said: “My son came home in tears on Monday and said the teacher told him that he won’t get a report card if he doesn’t return the book. The teacher threatened my child. How do you tell a child what she did? I am the parent. Any financial issue should come through me.”
Abrahams immediately laid a complaint with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and eventually the report was delivered to her home on Thursday, the day after schools closed.
Approached for comment on the matter, Director of Communications for the WCED Bronagh Hammond denied that the school had withheld the report card.
“The school requested that the parent come and discuss the non-retrieval of the textbook and the report would be issued. There is nothing illegal about this,” said Hammond.
Hammond said: “After this discussion, a school cannot refuse to hand over the report card. If the parent still maintains that their child’s report is being withheld, the parent can contact the district office.”
“This parent was given a weeks’ notice and did not come to the school. The school then went out of its way then to deliver the report card at home. This is certainly not a case of withholding the report card,” said Hammond.
ANC education shadow MEC Khalid Sayed said: “It is illegal to punish children by refusing to hand over their report cards. Schools have avenues to deal with parents to collect any money owed to schools.”
The Equal Education Law Centre’s Sipho Mzakwe said: “In our experience, schools tend to withhold the learner’s report as a way of forcing the parents to either pay the outstanding fees or replace a lost textbook.”
“This is problematic and unacceptable for two reasons; (a) children are being punished for something which is out of their control. (b) Payment of fees and/or replacement of lost textbooks is the responsibility of the parent and not a learner. Therefore schools should not interfere with the learner’s education and go after their parents for outstanding fees and/or lost textbooks,” said Mzakwe.