South Africa

Family of learner allegedly hit and called the K-word by teacher want justice

Johannesburg - The family of the Northriding Secondary School learner who was allegedly hit, sprayed with sanitiser and called the K-word by a teacher have vowed to get justice.

An Afrikaans teacher at Northriding Secondary School was suspended on Thursday following an alleged racist incident in which the female educator allegedly hit a Grade 8 learner and called other learners “baboons, drug dealers and k*****s”.

Education Department spokesperson Steve Mabona told the media at the school on Friday that initial investigations indicated that an altercation over noise-making occurred on Thursday morning between a Grade 8 learner and an educator.

“The educator is then alleged to have sprayed the learner with sanitiser after he left the classroom to report the matter to another teacher in the neighbouring class. It is alleged that the accused educator followed and started to engage violently with the learner, further spraying the learner with sanitiser all over his body and allegedly calling him a ‘k****r’,” Mabona said.

He added that the teacher then had another altercation, in the next period, with other learners.

“She started pelting insults at the learners. We are informed that she called them baboons, drug dealers and k*****s,” he said.

The school’s principal, Francios Oosthuizen, the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) and other teachers then rushed to the classroom and defused the situation.

A decision was then taken for the teacher to be suspended with immediate effect until a disciplinary process had been conducted.

The father of the Grade 8 learner, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, said it was a traumatic experience for the family and other children who were in the class at the time.

“It’s traumatic and it’s something that we are really angry about because in 2021 we didn’t think we would experience such. In 2021, for a 14-year-old to go through such is just a lot,” the father said.

He added that the family expected the school to handle the matter decisively and not only for their child but for the other learners as well.

“There is a lot that needs to change with the school in terms of process and how they engage parents, kids and teachers and the culture that is here,” the father said.

The child’s mother added that the family would open a case and lodge a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission.

“This person stands to account for her transgressions and the contentious hate and racism that she stands for,” the mother said.

She said that other parents had also come forward to the school to complain about other incidents of alleged racism.

“It’s a tragic story that there are no actions that followed something so serious and grave transgressions that are happening to our children,” she said.

The mother added that the family were further upset that they only heard about the incident from their son after school on Thursday, and not from the school itself.

Concerned parents who were at the school raised the same concern, that they were only informed about the incident long after it happened and in some cases on social media.

Oosthuizen, in response, said the school was “unfortunately” preoccupied with other matters on the day of the incident.

A concerned parent said: “There’s an enabling ground here. The teacher was comfortable to do that and to even follow the child to another class and say it in front of another teacher. It means there is an enabling ground for racism in this school.”

The parent said the root cause needed to be dealt with as well.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the department was extremely disappointed by the incident, adding that racism would not be tolerated at schools.

“Educators must always teach and guide learners, not fight them,” Lesufi said.

@Chulu_M

The Star

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