Our children are not safe, say parents of learners at school in race row

Date: 11 Jan 2019

IRATE parents at Laerskool SchweizerReneke in the North West believe that their children are not safe at the school.

“Our children are not safe. I was shocked to see young children in that position,” said one parent yesterday.

This followed the release of a photo which showed a small group of black children seated apart from their white counterparts in a Grade R class at the start of the first term on Wednesday.

North West Education MEC Sello Lehari has since suspended the teacher with immediate effect to allow investigations to be done smoothly and fairly.

“The circuit manager will arrange another teacher to come to the school (today) to ensure that the children are not disadvantaged,” he said.

Protesters, many donning political party T-shirts, gathered outside the school gates to speak out against what they termed was racial segregation at the school.

“The incident happened at a class next to my child’s class.

“She was not affected, but this segregation cannot continue.

“Our children cannot experience what our parents went through during apartheid,” added the concerned mother.

She was at the school to collect her child following the tense situation there.

While protesters sang and danced outside the school, some parents of white children broke a part of the fence on the other side of the school to gain access and take their children away.

A teacher reportedly sent the controversial picture to parents via WhatsApp intending to show parents how children were settling in on their first day at school on Wednesday.

Although Lehari was commended for acting swiftly, the MEC was urged to fire the teacher to send a “strong message that racism will not be tolerated”. The National Freedom Party (NFP) said the school should also take full responsibility for allowing segregation to take place at the institution.

“We believe that the firing of the teacher will send a strong message that racial segregation has no place in the democratic South Africa,” said the party’s spokesperson, Sabelo Sigudu.

Sigudu called for “cleansing ceremonies and slaughtering of goats in all racist schools to clean these school from the evil spirits of racism”.

Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD), which also visited the school, said the South African Council for Educators should de-register the teacher.

“It cannot be tolerated to see our future generation subject to such segregation.

“When confronted harder, this school said that the sitting arrangement was as a result of black kids (being) not proficient in English.

“This reason is unacceptable,” said F4SD leader Mbahare Kekana.

“Therefore we, as the F4SD, will ensure that the teacher who caused this debacle is held accountable,” Kekana said.

By MOLAOLE MONTSHO and SIBONGILE MASHABA

 

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