Teachers face the cane at 'institutionally racist' Cape Town school

10 January 2017 - 19:42 By Dave Chambers
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now
Image: Facebook/Sans Souci Girls' High School (Official)

But heads are not likely to roll after the completion of a Western Cape education department investigation into Sans Souci High School in Claremont‚ department head Brian Schreuder said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The investigation found that a number of discriminating practices gave rise to understandable unhappiness among learners and steps have already been taken to remedy these practices‚” he said.

“I have taken legal advice on the matter‚ and the conclusion is that while a number of unacceptable practices were identified which require revision and correction‚ the evidence is unlikely to lead to dismissal in any one instance.”

However‚ there would be “disciplinary engagements with individuals‚ where applicable”. Schreuder said the principal‚ Charmaine Murray‚ retired at the end of December after 36 years of “distinguished and loyal service”‚ the last 17 as principal at Sans Souci.

 “She has indicated that her decision‚ while of retirement age‚ is as a consequence of the trauma of the unfolding events and believes this to be in her and the school’s best interests‚” he said.

Last September‚ Sans Souci pupils called for Murray’s suspension and disciplinary action against seven teachers – including the “head of hair” – for “institutional racism”.

They said teachers had referred to black pupils as “baboons” and “hyenas”. They also demanded the abolition of the “dompas” – a book recording transgressions such as speaking isiXhosa at school.

The allegations were contained in a scathing 13-page memorandum drawn up by pupils‚ parents and alumni which was presented to Western Cape education officials. Said Screuder: “Debbie Schäfer‚ Western Cape education minister‚ asked the department to conduct the investigation into aspects of [the] memorandum.”

The investigation‚ by four senior officials‚ was led by chief director Clifton Frolick‚ and Schreuder said that as a result: • The school code of conduct would be reviewed; • The hair policy had been changed; • Decisions about inclusivity of all cultures and faiths would be reviewed; and • The governing body would be offered training and support.

“The climate and culture of the school‚ governed by the governing body and managed by the staff‚ need to reflect a South African school culture that is inclusive‚ orderly and disciplined. The [department] will work with the school to continue the revisions already started‚” said Schreuder. “The [department] has also learnt valuable lessons from this matter and will endeavour to pre-empt any such instances going forward.” - TMG Digital/The Times

subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now