Realising the child's best interests: lessons from the Child Justice Act to improve the South African Schools Act
Although the contexts of school discipline and child justice differ considerably there are a number of contact points and points that overlap. Since the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 came into operation in 1996, the Constitutional Court has made several pronouncements on the best-interests-of-the-child concept which are not reflected in the provisions regarding school discipline. The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008 came into operation in 2010. This Act provides valuable guidance on how to deal with transgressing children. It is therefore proposed that the Schools Act should draw on the provisions of the Child Justice Act to refine the Schools Act with regard to serious matters of school discipline and to ensure its proper alignment with the constitutional imperatives regarding the best-interests-of-the-child right.
Keywords: School discipline; child justice; the best interests of the child; children's rights; education law; restorative justice