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Peterhouse barred from expelling student

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter

THE High Court has stopped elite Peterhouse Boys High School from expelling a student who had been dismissed on misconduct allegations.

This follows a successful application by the boy’s father,  whose identity is being protected on legal grounds.

The father complained that his son was missing out on lessons after a disciplinary hearing was conducted in their absence.

In granting the relief, High Court judge, Justice Fatima Maxwell, said the parents should be given a chance to argue on behalf of their son.

“I find that in this case, the parents had not been invited to participate in the proceedings but to merely observe, therefore they cannot be said to have waived the right to challenge the proceedings.

“Their status as observers distinguishes them from the applicants…one would have expected the school to have engaged the legal practitioners to indicate that the prior conduct of not proceeding after an objection would not follow.”

The judge ruled there was no merit in excuses given by the school.

“I am persuaded that in the circumstances of his case, interim relief is granted .Consequently, the application is allowed.”

The parents approached with an urgent chamber application seeking readmission of their son,  pending the finalisation of the matter at the courts, as he was missing out on classes.

According to court papers, the lower sixth student got in an altercation with the House master last month, leading to his expulsion, despite not being given a disciplinary hearing.

Due to the lack of a proper disciplinary hearing, the initial expulsion was declared null and void.

However, the parents allege that a few weeks later, they were summoned by the school for a disciplinary hearing before the school lawyer, which they objected to as they argued it was unprocedural.

A few days later, the parents were summoned again to appear for another disciplinary hearing being chaired by an independent party.

The parents objected to this again, arguing that the school’s disciplinary code did not allow for an independent chairperson in a letter to the school.

The school responded however, informing the parents that they had conducted a hearing.

This forced the parents to seek legal assistance.

The school had argued that the parents had ample time to challenge the appointment of an independent chairperson but chose not to.

The school also alleged that the parents walked out of all the two hearings they attended in June without hearing deliberations or coming to a resolution and had therefore waived their rights.