Court ends school row
High school awards are serious business. So much so that a dispute about them can end up in the courts. The awarding of honours to top achievers was among the reasons Dirk Marais, principal of Swartland High School, in Malmesbury, near Cape Town, asked a court for a protection order against a parent.Marais claimed that Joggie Scholtz, ex-chairman of the school's governing body and the town's municipal manager, had harassed him because his daughter did not get an award.Marais was granted an interim protection order against Scholtz in February but a month later Marais' lawyer asked for the order to be withdrawn.Scholtz, however, insisted that Marais pay his legal fees.Magistrate Jeffrey Jantjies found in Scholtz's favour in the Malmesbury Magistrate's Court on Monday and accused the principal of acting "vexatiously and unreasonably" when he applied for the protection order."It did not stop there. Marais intentionally withheld information from the court," said Jantjies.A major bone of contention was who had the power to make awards to pupils: the governing body or the principal.Scholtz's lawyer, Jan Potgieter, told The Times the honours were "incorrectly granted to 17 pupils, one of whom was Scholtz's daughter". All the awards were withdrawn later.Jantjies did not rule on whether the awards should be reinstated, or who had the power to award themThis is not the first time a fight over high school honours has landed in court.Earlier this year a parent in George, on the Garden Route, dragged a principal to court for not making his daughter a prefect.