Pregnant pupils should have their own “special” schools or stay home as punishment, shaming and preventing them from negatively influencing their peers.

Some parents even suggested that schools should have dedicated nurses to attend to pregnant pupils.

The study, titled “Experiences of parents whose daughters became pregnant while attending secondary schools in Limpopo”, was published in the African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance last month.

In a parliamentary reply last year, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that there were 20116 pupils who fell pregnant in 2014.

Limpopo had 1009 that year and was among the provinces with the highest number.

While some parents said the pupils should be allowed to continue, others said they should be expelled as a form of punishment.

“These days many learners are pregnant, so if they have their own school the community will see that this side we have learners who are virgins while that other side we have learners who are parents already,” said a parent.

According to the study, the suggestion to isolate pregnant pupils was because some communities see teenage pregnancy as a moral problem that pupils should be “shamed and punished” for.

The parents also said the pupils should be expelled as a way to protect other pupils from the “bad influences of pregnant learners”.

But, according to the Basic Education Department’s policy, pupils who are pregnant cannot be stopped from attending school.

“In accordance with the constitution, the SA Schools Act and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, school children who are pregnant shall not be unfairly discriminated against,” read the measures for the prevention and management of learner pregnancy.

President Jacob Zuma has twice called for teenage mothers to be separated from their babies until they complete their schooling.

The Pretoria Hospital School offers expectant pupils a chance without being prejudiced but does not condone early pregnancy.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court ordered two Free State schools to review their pregnancy policies which banned pregnant pupils from attending school.

The parents also felt that allowing pregnant pupils to attend school was a burden on teachers as it is not their duty to care for pregnant pupils.

“We are burdening the schools with our pregnant children [especially because] the first stages [of pregnancy] are dangerous,” said a parent.

Source : Sowetan