Teacher suspended at North West's Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke amid race row

10 January 2019 - 12:31 By Naledi Shange and Boitumelo Tshehle
Pupils at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North West.
Pupils at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North West.
Image: Supplied

A teacher from Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North West was suspended on Thursday following outrage over a picture she allegedly took of Grade R pupils in her class being seated separately from their white classmates on their first day of school.

The announcement was made by the North West department of education during a meeting at the school following demonstrations by community and political groups at the school.

The department said the teacher had been suspended with immediate effect.

TimesLIVE has learnt that an investigation into the school's principal was also being carried out.

North West Education MEC Sello Lehari on Thursday visited the school, following the uproar caused by an image of Grade R pupils who were separated by race on their first day of school on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, parents of both white and black pupils as well as political party members gathered outside the school.

A group of parents of white pupils drove over the school fence with their vehicles and took away their children, saying they were rescuing them from angry protesters.

One white parent said: “If you are not happy here, take your child to another school, nobody is forcing you. Now they want to make this as if it's racism. Everyone just wants to make white people racists. We are not racists, we just want what was best for our children.”

Another parent said: "This is the only white-dominated school in this town. There are over 10 schools at the township. If they are not happy, let them take their children there.”

Black residents said they have been complaining about racism at the school for over a decade.

“I remember in 2008, we left township schools at that time and protested at this school because we wanted this [racial segregation] to end as this is also a government school,” one resident said.

A photograph of a Grade R class at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North West has gone viral, causing outrage on social media. In the picture, four black pupils are seen sitting separately from the white children in their class.