The Evidence Leader s (EL s) role is still new to the practice of managing learner discipline, but since the change in the education climate in South Africa after 1994 new policy and regulations have been promulgated to manage learner discipline. This study has determined that there is sufficient evidence that there is improvement in the process of learner discipline due to the EL s role and the effect of a Disciplinary Hearing (DH).
The fair management of learner discipline is guided by regulations and legal provisions such as Section 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. The DH is considered a quasi-judicial hearing to resolve learner transgressions; the EL and Disciplinary Committee (DC) perform quasi-judicial functions to investigate an alleged transgression. This study emphasises that ELs must have some degree of legal knowledge to manage this process fairly.
The research was conducted through a case study design to generate rich information regarding the role of the EL (Brundrett & Rhodes, 2014). Responses obtained in semi-structured interviews generated significant descriptions of the EL s experiences regarding the role of the EL in managing learner discipline. The study was conducted in a part of the Gauteng Province. Content analysis and discourse analysis assisted with the analysis of the data. After the analysis process it became evident that the role of the EL in managing learner discipline revolves around the following: 1) disciplinary hearings as mechanisms to manage learner discipline; 2) poor support systems that have an impact on the management of discipline; 3) disciplinary hearings changing learner behaviour; 4) the role of stakeholders in ensuring due process; 5) managing a fair disciplinary process and hearing, and 6) the invidious role of ELs aggravated by their lack of training.
The study has revealed how significant and unique the role of the EL is in managing learner discipline and in presenting the case in a DH to make fair decisions with a view to changing a learner s behaviour. The determination of the ELs to bring about change in learners by managing learner discipline in a manner that is both corrective and restorative constitutes a major contribution to the management practices of discipline in schools in South Africa.