The mother of a former Sans Souci Girls’ High School pupil slapped by her Afrikaans teacher during a physical altercation has lodged a claim in the Equality Court for damages amounting to R150 000

In a statement issued by William Booth of William Booth Attorneys on behalf of teacher Clarissa Venter, Booth confirmed that his office filed opposing papers objecting to the claim.

“[The mother of the pupil] has also claimed that our client allegedly assaulted [the pupil] due to her daughter being of a different race and cultural background,” he said.

‘Incident not race related’

The incident was “clearly” not a result of racism or cultural discrimination on the part of Venter, Booth maintained.

“This appears to be nothing more than a vexatious attempt to obtain financial gain as a result of an incident which was in fact instigated by [the pupil’s] lack of discipline, unruly behaviour and extreme provocative conduct. We are therefore of the opinion that this claim has no legal basis and should be dismissed.”

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News24 last week reported that Venter will return to work in the second term, after the school governing body ratified its decision that she should receive a fine, final warning and anger management sessions.

Last month, the pupil’s mother decided to remove her teenage daughter from the school.

According to the Chamber of Legal Students, which has been representing the Grade 9 pupil, the decision was prompted by concerns for her well-being, “in the face of the unfair and unlawful treatment she has been subjected to and the extremely hostile environment the school has created for her”.

Both had laid assault charges against each other. The pupil’s matter is being held in camera as she is a minor. Venter will return to the dock at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on 18 April.

Pupils and members of the public have expressed overwhelming support for the 34-year-old teacher, who was captured on video when she slapped the Grade 9 pupil after the child shoved her during an altercation over a book.

Booth, who acts on behalf of Venter in defending all litigation arising from the incident on 5 February, said his client has expressed her thanks for “all the support, encouragement and understanding” she has received.

“She has been completely overwhelmed by the kindness and sympathy received from acquaintances and strangers alike. In addition, she has received tremendous support from her students and colleagues.”

His office has also received numerous requests from people wanting to make monetary donations to assist Venter, he said.

The pupil’s lawyers declined to comment.

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