A senior level delegation from the Western Cape education department (WCED) visited Sans Souci High School on Friday, she said in a statement.
The delegation comprised of deputy director general for institutional development and co-ordination Tau Matseliso, chief director for districts Clifton Frolick, director for the metro central education district Sanette Nowers, and circuit manager Amanda Engelbrecht.
The delegation spent the day speaking to pupils, staff, and former pupils at the school. The discussions formed an important part of the investigation into the recent serious allegations of racism and discrimination at the school. The investigation was ongoing, Schafer said.
“I subsequently joined the delegation to hear about the issues first hand. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for me and my officials to listen to the learners and for the learners to put forward their case to me and the department. I am extremely concerned about some shocking allegations that were brought to my attention yesterday [Friday]. I am equally concerned that they say that they sent a complaint to the department in 2011 which was seemingly not acknowledged and yielded no change.
“The learners requested that I meet with them on Monday evening to receive the memorandum of grievances that they did not want to hand over yesterday [Fridays] as they wanted all the learners involved to be present. I agreed to do so.”
Schafer said she also acknowledge the fact that many pupils feared being victimised as a result of their action this week. In the light of this, it was decided that the principal would not report to the school on Monday and that the school circuit manager Amanda Engelbrecht would be at the school to provide support and ensure that there was no victimisation. In addition the WCED safe schools directorate would arrange for counselling to be available for any pupils who had been traumatised by the events this week and prior events.
“Meanwhile, the learners asked whether, on Monday, they could wear braids in their hair. My response was that I see nothing wrong with braids as long as their hair is neat and tidy. While I am fully aware that I do not determine schools’ codes of conduct, I was of the view that it has taken so long for the policy to change to allow for cultural differences that as long as the girls look neat there is nothing wrong with braids. I trust that this will form part of the discussion in formulating the new policy.
“I was also informed that the current group who are dealing with the new policy does not include one black African learner, despite the majority of learners at the school being black African. This is just unacceptable.
“I want to see a new code of conduct by the end of September 2016 adopted by the governing body after an inclusive process has been followed, and Mr Matseliso will be overseeing this process with the district staff,” Schafer said.
– African News Agency (ANA)