Tattooed teen who was barred from school finally enrolled and enjoys first day

26 March 2021 - 14:12 By Tania Broughton
A grade 10 pupil whose mother was told her daughter was not welcome at a KwaZulu-Natal school because of her tattoos was finally allowed to attend classes this week.
A grade 10 pupil whose mother was told her daughter was not welcome at a KwaZulu-Natal school because of her tattoos was finally allowed to attend classes this week.
Image: 123rf

A 16-year-old grade 10 pupil who was barred from attending a school because she has tattoos has now been enrolled and spent a happy first day there this week.

Her mother told TimesLIVE her daughter had made instant friends and had told her she believed it was the “best school ever”.

Teachers had offered to help her catch up on work.

The mother, through the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), had lodged papers in the Pietermaritzburg high court seeking to compel the non-fee paying school, a short walk from her home in Nottingham Road in KwaZulu-Natal, to admit her daughter.

In her affidavit, the mother, who is domestic worker, said she had relocated to the midlands town with her employers in December.

She said after being informed by provincial education authorities that there was a place for her daughter, the principal had told her did not like children from Joburg because they were trouble-makers who had gold teeth, piercings and tattoos.

After she told him her daughter had tattoos, one on her arm and another on her hand, the principal told her that she would not be welcome unless they were removed.

Assurances that the tattoos would be covered by long sleeves or a bandage were not accepted.

The LRC wrote letters to the school and the education MEC’s office, but these went unanswered.

It appears sanity prevailed and her right to education will be respected.
LRC attorney Cameron McConnachie

The court application was expected to be heard on Thursday.

LRC attorney Cameron McConnachie said he had been contacted by the MEC’s office early this week and had been assured the pupil would be admitted to the school and it would not be necessary to proceed with the court application.

“We welcome the school’s decision to do an about turn and admit the pupil. It appears sanity prevailed and her right to education will be respected,” he said.

“It is disconcerting that the school and the MEC didn’t respond to our letters and that significant time and money had to be spent to bring an urgent high court application to undo the irrational stance taken up by the school. 

“We trust the pupil will be well-treated and helped to catch up on the tuition she missed.”

Kwazi Mthethwa, spokesperson for the MEC, did not respond to a request for comment.

TimesLIVE


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