School principal violated the rights of transgender learner‚ says Equality Court
The Seshego Equality Court in Limpopo has ruled that a high school principal has violated the rights of a transgender learner.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) lodged the complaint with the court in November last year after the learner complained of unfair discrimination and harassment.
The learner had complained that the principal had made hurtful and harmful speech remarks towards her.
“The court found in favour of the complainant and the SAHRC and ruled that Section 10 of the Equality Act had been violated‚” the commission said in a statement on Monday.
“The court was satisfied with the credibility of the complainant’s testimony‚ and indicated that the testimony of the expert witness that the complainant had suffered trauma as a result of the treatment meted out against her‚ was uncontested and credible.”
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The learner and the commission have asked for a public apology and for the court to declare that the principal and the Limpopo Education Department breached the Equality Act and violated the learner’s constitutional right to dignity and equality.
The commission has also asked the court to order that the principal attend gender sensitivity training and that the department develop a code of conduct for all educators across the province to learn about and respect the rights of transgender people.
The code of conduct should address the registration of learners whose gender on school records differs from their birth certificate‚ the commission has requested. The code should also address the use of correct pronouns‚ choice of school uniforms‚ and access to school bathrooms for transgender learners.
The court has also been asked to order that special damages be paid for the impairment of the learner’s dignity‚ for medical expenses related to psychotherapy‚ and for the cost of completing her schooling.
The court will make a decision on the relief sought on Friday.