KwaZulu-Natal teacher suspended over WhatsApp sexting scandal
A KwaZulu-Natal teacher has been suspended after he was caught allegedly exchanging graphic sexual material with pupils via the WhatsApp messenger service.
The provincial education department on Monday said the male teacher from Tongaat Secondary School was placed on suspension following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Pupils at the school held a placard demonstration on Monday after details of the alleged sexting went viral.
Departmental spokesman Kwazi Mthethwa said the graphic material included photos and text messages.
"In line with the South African Schools Act, a thorough investigation will be conducted while the teacher is on suspension. The department of education in KwaZulu-Natal distances itself from any sexual harassment or abuse, and would not hesitate to act against any sexual offenders within the education sector," Mthethwa said.
He said sexual abuse had been "as much a constant feature of South African schools as it has been of society in general".
"Many of our schools have become violent and unsafe environments, particularly for the girl child. It is a matter that requires urgent attention from all sectors of the society."
"Our attitude towards cases of this nature is that it makes schools an unsafe place to be for some of our children, suffocating many of their dreams and reducing the school experience for our children to a battle for survival rather than academic achievement," he said.
The department said it became aware of the allegations against the teacher on Friday, and served him with his suspension notice on Monday.