White teacher suspended after threatening to kneel on pupil's necks
A white teacher at a Gauteng private school who allegedly threatened pupils with the same fate that befell American George Floyd has been placed on suspension.
Sonya de Vynck, a life orientation and art teacher at Pinnacle College Kyalami in Kyalami, was suspended on Friday.
This was after she allegedly threatened to re-enact the final moments of Floyd, an African American who died after a white policeman pressed his knee into his neck while he lay sprawled on the ground in handcuffs.
In a letter addressed to parents on Friday, Pinnacle College's COO Christo de Wit said the school was deeply shocked by the comments made by their teacher.
“As you are aware the teacher has been suspended. The principal has chosen to take special leave after reflecting on the pace and manner of the first response to the reports,” De Wit said.
He said investigations were still ongoing.
“This has caused significant hurt. We are in the process of meeting with the students directly involved and commend them for the courage displayed in these discussions. We have also engaged with the staff,” he said.
During an online class on Thursday, De Vynck allegedly said: “If you don't hand in your practice drawings when we get back, then I will give you something to protest about, and maybe sit on your necks.”
In an apology De Vynck made after her remarks, she said she didn't mean any harm.
“It wasn't my intention and I didn't want to put someone down who lost their lives while people were watching and being helpless.
“I never wanted to offend you. I never wanted to offend Mr Floyd. I would never — I know you need time but just know that I am not a person like that, I am not a racist person. I would never have done that. It was a silly thing that popped into my head.”