School sends con­tro­ver­sial let­ter to for­eign par­ents

Saturday Star - - FRONT PAGE - NONI MOKATI AND LINDI MASINGA

“THE LET­TER sent out and dated 22 Fe­bru­ary to for­eign par­ents has been with­drawn. Ig­nore.”

This is all Eastleigh Pri­mary School com­mu­ni­cated to par­ents yes­ter­day af­ter it sent out a let­ter threat­en­ing for­eign par­ents that their chil­dren would be taken to the po­lice sta­tion if they could not prove that their doc­u­men­ta­tion was in or­der.

On Wed­nes­day, the school sent the let­ter to for­eign par­ents re­quest­ing them to up­date their in­for ma­tion by pro­duc­ing orig­i­nal im­mi­gra­tion per­mits for them­selves and their chil­dren or face the prospect of hav­ing their chil­dren re­moved from the school by the po­lice.

The let­ter was cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia.

The school said it had been vis­ited by Depart­ment of Home Af­fairs of­fi­cials which in­structed it to take the dras­tic ac­tion.

But Home Af­fairs spokesper­son May­ihlome Tsh­wete said it was not the depart­ment’s pol­icy to have chil­dren ar­rested at school and taken to po­lice sta­tions.

“While we en­cour­age par­ents to en­sure they have the right doc­u­men­ta­tion, we don’t have a pol­icy on ar­rest­ing chil­dren.”

Tsh­wete re­fused to com­ment fur­ther.

The Gaut­eng Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion later in­structed Eastleigh Pri­mary School to with­draw the let­ter.

“As the depart­ment we sup­port the need to com­ply with laws of the coun­try, but cau­tion that we need to be sym­pa­thetic and deal with it with em­pa­thy,” said Bodibe.

“So the school has been asked to with­draw the last state­ment, where it was threat­en­ing to send the chil­dren to the po­lice sta­tion, but rather to tell par­ents that if they don’t com­ply they must keep their chil­dren at home.”

The school, mean­while, was not avail­able for com­ment.

The let­ter threat­en­ing for­eign­ers that their kids will be taken to the po­lice sta­tion if they can’t prove their

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