March 5, 2013
School Pregnancy Case Before South Africa’s Constitutional Court Today
Posted by Susan Farbstein
Our partner in South Africa, Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), is appearing as an amicus curiae before the Constitutional Court today in a case that will determine whether school governing bodies can suspend pregnant students. EELC will help to challenge lower court decisions holding that a provincial Head of Department cannot instruct a principal to ignore a school governing body pregnancy policy, even when that policy results in the unlawful suspension students on the grounds of pregnancy.
EELC, in support of the Head of Department, contends that the school governing body’s pregnancy policies unfairly discriminate on the basis of gender and pregnancy, violate female students’ right to a basic education, and are not in the best interest of the child or the circumstances of affected students. In addition, the school governing bodies’ actions violate national and provincial policies which seek to ensure that pregnant students are able and encouraged to attend school as long as they are physically capable, and return to school as soon as possible after giving birth.