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Mike Otis
Mike Otis, Legal Advisor
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 2074
Experience:  B.Comm; LL.B; LL.M.
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My child was grabbed by the neck by another parent (mother

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My child was grabbed by the neck by another parent (mother whose son is in the same class), arm twisted and told he is a 'bladdy idiot and will be kicked out the f.....g school'. My son is 6 and had teased the other child (silly teasing such as "hello broer") when this incident took place at school. Another teacher witnessed this but I was only informed of the verbal abuse.

My son only admitted 2 days later to the physical abuse and he is terrified of going to school since this incident.

What course of action can I follow with regards XXXXX XXXXX above? I have spoken to the teacher as well as school principal but that was while being under the impression that it was only verbal abuse. Nobody mentioned or addressed the physical abuse and they were aware of it (my son being in quite a state and me unaware of the full incident). What can I do about this parent who is walking freely near my child at school? Nevermind the school who failed to inform me of the full incident?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  Mike Otis replied 10 months ago.
Welcome, and thank you for your question.

It is unfortunate that the school did not inform you of the full extent of this incident. This may indicate a degree of unwillingness to deal with the issue. Unfortunately, the school does not have direct authority over the other parent and it can hardly discipline the other child for the behaviour of his/her parent. Nevertheless, the school should at least have talk to this parent to advise them that no violence of any nature will be tolerated on school grounds.

You would be well within your rights to lay charges of assault against this other parent with the police. That should get both the school's and the other parent's attention and maybe motivate the school to deal with the issue more decisively.

Furthermore, depending on the size of the school, it might be possible to have the two children placed in different classes so as to reduce the likelihood of your child running into this parent again.

To the extent that your child has suffered emotional trauma (and may or may not need counselling), you would have a civil claim for damages against this other parent, and if the school was negligent in not intervening or preventing such actions altogether also the school, both for the trauma experienced by your child as well as any reasonable costs related to the counselling.

In addition, you the Protection Against Harassment Act provides a further remedy in that you could apply for a protection order against this parent on behalf of your child. However, I would advise caution when considering this (protection order) route. Firstly, it should only really be considered if there are repeated incidents. Secondly, it can easily become a tit-for-tat situation where the other parent brings a counter-application on some fictitious gronds against you as a means of retaliation (it may not be successful, but will cause a lot of heartache).

Best of luck
Mike Otis, Legal Advisor
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 2074
Experience: B.Comm; LL.B; LL.M.
Mike Otis and 2 other South Africa Law Specialists are ready to help you

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