1. On Thursday 30th March 2017, Judge Leburu delivered an order on an urgent application that was brought before the #High_Court by BONELA in partnership with Rainbow Identity Association. The case involved a form 5 student, (the 2nd Applicant) at Ledumang Senior Secondary School in Gaborone who was barred from writing her examinations by the school authorities. BONELA was represented by Gosego Lekgowe of Dinokopila Lekgowe Attorneys.

2. The Judge made an order as follows:

a. The court dismissed the application for an interim order – This application was intended to allow the 2nd Applicant to attend school wearing trousers pending the institution of an application for judicial review to determine the legality or otherwise of the suspension.

b. After dismissing the application, the court ordered that the 2nd Applicant could apply for permission to wear trousers.

c. The court advised that if the permission is denied the Applicant may review the decision to deny her permission should the Applicant choose to do so.

d. The school was ordered to make arrangements for the student to sit for the examinations she missed due to the suspension.

3. It was important for BONELA to take such a matter to court in order to send a very strong and loud message to school authorities to the effect that they do not have either a legal, or a moral right to limit any child’s right to education. The case was also intended to sensitize the community about gender identity issues, and that they are a reality in our communities and by extension, in our schools. Additionally, the case was sending a clear message to students that they have rights and responsibilities in exercising and claiming their rights. “I am happy that we achieved these objectives” said Cindy Kelemi, Executive Director, BONELA.

4. BONELA still holds the view that school management should apply the paramount interests of the child standard in decisions concerning children in accordance with Section 5 of the Botswana Children’s Act of 2009. We further reiterate that the right to education should be protected at all cost. BONELA commits to continue promoting and protecting and ensuring fulfillment of the rights of children in Botswana.

For more information; please contact Gosego Lekgowe on 72227050. You can follow BONELA on Twitter on @bonelaethics and like our Facebook Page BONELA.