Sus­pended teacher ac­cused of hit­ting an­other child in class

Saturday Star - - NEWS - SHAIN GERMANER

WITH four teach­ers set to be pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended this week for mis­con­duct at Park­town Boys’ High School, one of th­ese teach­ers has been im­pli­cated in hit­ting an­other child in his class.

Ear­lier this week, Gaut­eng Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi vis­ited the school again to an­nounce the sus­pen­sions pub­licly. This comes af­ter an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into nine teach­ers ac­cused of sec­ondary vic­tim­i­sa­tion of pupils in­volved in last year’s sex­ual abuse scan­dal.

Last year, it was re­vealed an as­sis­tant wa­ter polo coach had al­legedly sexually as­saulted pupils at the school, with the num­ber of com­plainants ris­ing to more than 30 in the past few months.

Teach­ers stood ac­cused of mak­ing light of the sex­ual abuse in front of the vic­tims, along­side al­le­ga­tions of racism and phys­i­cal as­sault.

This week, Le­sufi an­nounced that he be­lieved the ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion had been scup­pered by a “cul­ture of si­lence” in­grained at the school among learn­ers and teach­ers. “The cul­ture of si­lence im­peded the gath­er­ing of ev­i­dence,” he said this week.

He said four ed­u­ca­tors had been im­pli­cated in al­le­ga­tions of racism, two em­ployed by the school gov­ern­ing body, the other two by the Gaut­eng De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (GDE).

“The said ed­u­ca­tors will be on pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion from the school be­fore the end of this week. A dis­ci­plinary hear­ing will be held at a later stage,” he said.

“There was an al­le­ga­tion that learn­ers were smeared with deep heat on their pri­vate parts. No ev­i­dence was found, we strongly be­lieve the cul­ture of si­lence might have played a ma­jor role.”

Ear­lier this year, the Satur­day Star re­vealed how one of the school’s teach­ers, Nik Muiznieks, had re­signed from teach­ing af­ter a racist, threat­en­ing rant di­rected at boys in­volved in the sex­ual abuse scan­dal. One of his col­leagues, di­rec­tor of sport and maths lit­er­acy teacher Remo Mura­bito, was also charged with as­sault­ing one of his pupils in class.

The pupil and his mother told the Satur­day Star Mura­bito had slapped the child and stomped on his foot, prompt­ing them to open the as­sault case against the teacher.

How­ever, the Satur­day Star has seen af­fi­davits handed to po­lice by other pupils in the same class, where Mura­bito is ac­cused of teach­ing poorly and hit­ting an­other child.

The sec­ond pupil con­firms the first’s story about be­ing hit, then adds that he too was slapped in the face by Mura­bito when act­ing out in his class.

A third pupil ac­cuses Mura­bito of “not teach­ing” dur­ing their classes, with a fourth pupil also cor­rob­o­rat­ing this.

At the time of the ini­tial ar­ti­cle on the first as­sault, Mura­bito ad­mit­ted to the in­ci­dent through the school’s cri­sis man­age­ment pub­lic re­la­tions agency, Vuma Rep­u­ta­tion Man­age­ment.

How­ever, when asked for com­ment this time, the agency di­rected queries to the GDE and SGB. The GDE did not com­ment on the new al­le­ga­tions, con­firm­ing only that Mura­bito was one of the four teach­ers sus­pended.

SGB head Jim Poo­ley said he was deeply con­cerned to hear of the al­leged in­ci­dent.

How­ever, he said the school had not had sight of the af­fi­davit pro­vided by the pupil to the po­lice.

The Satur­day Star has opted to not hand over the af­fi­davit to the SGB, to pro­tect the pupils’ iden­ti­ties as well as to not risk jea­par­dis­ing the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mean­while, Le­sufi im­plored learn­ers to break the cul­ture of si­lence, speak out against any vi­o­la­tion and re­port cases without any fear of be­ing vic­timised.

“Any per­son who wants to tar­nish the im­age of the school will be dealt with ac­cord­ingly,” he said.

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