Parents aren’t legally forced to buy from prescribed school stationery suppliers

Source: Cape Talk

Education law specialist Sue Larkan says parents aren’t legally obligated to purchase back-to-school stationery from a specific supplier or brand.

Larkan is the founder of learner rights group Tabansi, which assists parents and pupils with school disputes.

She says parents can’t be forced to buy stationery from a specific brand prescribed by a school.

Some families are facing difficult financial circumstances and may not be able to afford expensive stationery brands.

Larkan adds that some households have to purchase new stationery for more than one child.

She does warn, however, that certain stationery brands may not last as long or have the same quality.

“Schools are demanding stationery lists. That either the parents buy the packs through the school or they buy certain brand name products, which can be rather expensive.

“There’s no legal binding on a parent to do that at all … A parent can ask for the stationery list and go buy it wherever they want to.

As long as the children have got their stationery and the correct exercise books … they can buy wherever they like.”

At the same time, Larkan advises that parents are not legally obligated to provide toiletry supplies such as toilet rolls, tissues, or soap.

She says schools are responsible for hygiene and cleanliness, and they should factor toiletries into their budgets.

While parents are welcome to volunteer what they can, they can’t be forced to shoulder the burden of toiletry supplies.

“They cannot mandate it … there is no legal forcement on a parent to supply that. The school is responsible for hygiene and sanitation.

“The schools are trying to use that budget on something else, and bring the responsibility back on the parents shoulders.”

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