National 30.8.2016 10:13 am

Panyaza Lesufi suspends Pretoria Girls High’s hair rules

Gauteng's education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Gauteng's education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Christine Vermooten

The MEC also wants the school to apologise to its pupils in the wake of a scandal in which serious allegations of racism were made.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has asked Pretoria High School for Girls’ school governing body (SGB) to apologise to its pupils in the wake of the racism allegations at the Pretoria school over the weekend.

The MEC also used his executive power to suspend the code of conduct that refers to a strict set of rules on hairstyles. The decision was taken during a late-night meeting with the SGB last night. The school has not yet indicated whether it will apologise.

Among the allegations raised by the girls were:

  • A pupil telling Lesufi that a teacher said her hair looks like a bird’s nest and that she looked like a sheep.
  • Another pupil alleges a teacher called her and her friends monkeys in front of the class.
  • One girl alleged being called a “dirty kaffir”.
  • She alleged being compared to the Bart Simpson TV cartoon character.
  • Another girl claims they forced her to undo her “Bantu knots” and get thinner dreadlocks.
  • When they went camping, another girl says an instructor told them he was “not interested in black chicks”. When they complained to a teacher at the camp, allegedly nothing was done.
  • An instructor allegedly threatened the pupils by saying “he would make them bleed” and was not afraid of their parents.
  • Some girls were allegedly told they “belonged” in schools in Mamelodi.
  • When a group of white girls told one black pupil her English was broken and bad, the teacher allegedly laughed.
  • They heard a comment from a teacher saying that “black girls worry too much about politics and that’s why they have no black achievers in education.
  • Black girls have been told they “focus too much on race”.
  • A teacher apparently tried to justify dividing black girls up into their ethnic groups, but not the white girls, saying it was a “geography exercise”.
  • When the girls decided to wear black hoodies to school, management of the school allegedly called in extra security.
  • They allege being physically manhandled.
  • They say guns were used by security.
  • One girl says she was victimised for wearing a badge saying, “Hi, don’t be racist”.
  • Apparently there was a case of “blackface”, where white girls painted their faces black.

Lesufi has said that psychologists and a “social cohesion unit” would be visiting the school.

Meanwhile, other schools are now facing similar allegations on Tuesday.

 

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