Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
3 minute read
7 May 2021
9:26 pm

Joburg teacher suspended after allegedly calling pupil k-word

Marizka Coetzer

School headmaster Francois Oosthuizen said a teaching agency had been contacted to replace the teacher.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Neil McCartney

An Afrikaans teacher was suspended with immediate effect after allegedly calling a 14-year-old pupil from the Northriding Secondary School the k-word and spraying the pupil with sanitiser.

The parents of the Grade 8 pupil described the incident as a traumatic matter for them, their child and the other children exposed to racial slurs and attacks.

“We are really angry about it,” the father of the pupil said. The father said he never thought his child would have to experience in 2021 what they had experienced when they were young in “that era”.

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“There is a lot that needs to change in the school’s culture and management,” he said.

The pupil’s mother said they would be taking further steps against the teacher and the parents have already laid a complaint at the Human Rights Commission of South Africa (HRCSA).

“We have also pressed charges against the teacher. We are taking it very seriously,” the mother said.

“The thing that upsets me the most is we heard it from our son. Nobody contacted us from the school. It is unfortunate and a failure,” the mother said.

Earlier on Friday, Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi visited the school following the allegations.

“As a department, we are extremely disappointed about this incident.

“Racism will never be tolerated in our schools. Teachers must always teach and guide pupils; not fight them,” Lesufi said.

Lesufi welcomed the immediate suspension of the teacher.

Gauteng department for education spokesman Steve Mabona said during a media briefing at the school that initial investigations indicated an altercation over the making of noise occurred on Thursday between the pupils and an Afrikaans teacher.

“The teacher then allegedly sprayed the pupil with sanitiser when he left the classroom to report the matter to another teacher in the neighbouring class,” Mabona said.

“The teacher allegedly followed and started to engage violently with the pupil, further spraying the pupil with sanitiser all over his body and allegedly calling him a k****r,” Mabona added.

Other teachers had to intervene.

“Reports state that the same teacher then had another altercation, in the next period, with other pupils, where she started swearing at pupils, allegedly calling them baboons, drug dealers and k****rs,” Mabona said.

The education department’s psychosocial team visited the school to provide support for all affected by the incident.

School headmaster Francois Oosthuizen said a teaching agency had been contacted to replace the teacher.

He said he himself would stand in if necessary because he is a qualified Afrikaans teacher. Meanwhile, in the smoking section of the school, two teachers casually sat, puffing away.

The teachers said they were having a very quiet day because the pupils left the classes to protest on the sports field, where they sat down and refused to return to class.

In front of the school’s office, a small group of angry parents gathered to voice their grievances about the incident. The parents wanted to know what processes will be put in place to ensure the school does not become a breeding ground for racism.


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