High court orders headmistress to compensate minor illegally expelled from school

HIGH Court Judge Justice Catherine Bachi Mzawazi has ordered the Headmistress at Rugare Government Primary School to compensate a 13 year-old minor for the learning time which she lost for eight days when she was summarily expelled from school.

The Headmistress only identified as Matsitsiro suspended the 13
year-old Grade 6 pupil on 11 May 2022 on the basis that she resides in
Warren Park suburb, which is an adjacent residential suburb to Rugare
suburb.

Matsitsiro told the minor that she was ineligible to be enrolled at
Rugare Primary School because she stays in Warren Park, which is
outside the zone for the school and that there are enough schools in
Warren Park, where she could be accommodated. The expulsion took place
despite the fact that the minor had been a student Rugare Government
Primary School since she enrolled for Grade 1 and that it is already
mid- term after lessons commenced on 3 May 2022.

The minor’s guardian represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights on Wednesday 18 May 2022 filed an application
at the High Court challenging her expulsion as unlawful, arbitrary and
grossly unreasonable as it had been done without observing the audi
alteram partem rule, which is a fundamental legal principle in which
each party is entitled to a fair hearing and given the opportunity to
respond to evidence against them and hence in breach of the principles
of natural justice.

Chinopfukutwa argued that the expulsion of the minor was a breach of
her right to administrative justice guaranteed in Section 68 of the
Constitution and also constitutes a breach of her right to education
as provided for in terms of Section 75 of the Constitution.

On Friday 20 May 2022, Justice Bachi-Mzawazi ordered Matsitsiro to
reinstate the minor and allow her back to attend lessons at Rugare
Government Primary School and to make arrangements to compensate
learning time lost by the 13 year-old pupil during the duration of her
expulsion from 11 May 2022 to 20 May 2022.

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