The need for legal reform to effectively protect the rights of queer-sexual pupils in south african public schools

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University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg
The South African community largely consist of marginalized and/or vulnerable groups, one of which is the queer-sexual community. This paper seeks to direct the attention of the social justice advocacy towards the children members of this groups. Within all the marginalized and vulnerable groups, children are the worst off. This study will focus on the children of the queer-sexual group, particularly, public school pupils. The ‘queer-sexual’ concept will be used to loosely mean children who are not heterosexual. Through examples of legal reforms that have proven, to an important extent, effective in protecting queer-sexual adults; and comprehensive research on how basic education schooling environment fails to offer queer-sexual pupils’ substantive equal opportunity to learn, this paper will prove the necessity of statutory intervention to achieve an effective protection of the right to equality for queer-sexual pupils in South African public schools. While the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) guarantees equal rights for everyone, it is the statutory regulations that give effect to the constitutional broad provisions. To a certain and significant extent, the amended Intestate Succession Act and Civil Union Act have given effect to the protection of adult queer-sexual identities. However, the existing children-centred statutes do not make specific provision for the recognition and protection of queer-sexual children, the result of which is lack of a legal regime that protects queer-sexual identities of children. While a society’s voluntary recognition of the existence and subsequent acceptance or tolerance of queer-sexual children is ideal, this paper will only focus on the necessity of legal mechanisms to protect the rights of minorities. Considering the efficacy of statutes such as the Employment Equity Act that fosters implementation of policies that vehemently prohibit discriminatory conduct and sexual harassment in the workplace, the obedience fostering character of the law makes the law integral to the protection of queer-sexual children
Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Laws by Coursework and Research Report at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
South African community, Social justice, Queer-sexual group, Public school pupils, Legal reform, Public Schools, UCTD