Cape school’s poli­cies found to be bi­ased

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

AN IN­VES­TI­GA­TION into dis­rup­tions at the San Souci Girls’ High School in New­lands, Cape Town, over what pupils termed racist poli­cies has been con­cluded.

It found that dis­crim­i­na­tory prac­tices do ex­ist at the in­sti­tu­tion, Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Deb­bie Schäfer said yes­ter­day.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that a num­ber of dis­crim­i­nat­ing prac­tices gave rise to un­der­stand­able un­hap­pi­ness among learn­ers, and steps have al­ready been taken to rem­edy th­ese prac­tices,” Schäfer said in a state­ment.

The probe be­gan af­ter a protest at the school last year over its hair pol­icy, which pupils said dis­crim­i­nated against black girls, and the fact that they were not al­lowed to speak or learn in their mother tongues, rather be­ing forced to learn in Afrikaans.

Schäfer said the re­port, com­piled by four se­nior Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment of­fi­cials, rec­om­mended that the school’s code of con­duct be re­viewed, as well as its hair pol­icy, which the MEC said had al­ready been done.

The school would also have to re­view “de­ci­sions taken about in­clu­siv­ity of all cul­tures and faiths”, help­ing the school’s gov­ern­ing body to ful­fil its func­tions and “hav­ing dis­ci­plinary en­gage­ments with in­di­vid­u­als, where ap­pli­ca­ble”.

“Any dis­ci­plinary en­gage­ment is a con­fi­den­tial mat­ter... and will be treated in such a man­ner,” Schäfer said. She added that the re­port was un­likely to lead to any dis­missals of staff at the school.

“The cli­mate and cul­ture of the school, which are gov­erned by the gov­ern­ing body and man­aged by the staff, need to re­flect a South African school cul­ture that is in­clu­sive, or­derly and dis­ci­plined,” she added.

“The Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment will work with the school to con­tinue the re­vi­sions al­ready started.”

The MEC also an­nounced that school prin­ci­pal Char­maine Mur­ray had re­tired at the end of last year af­ter 36 years of ser­vice.

Pupils had com­plained that Mur­ray was be­hind the school’s dis­crim­i­na­tory poli­cies, call­ing for her head dur­ing a protest in Septem­ber last year.

“She has in­di­cated that her de­ci­sion, while she is of re­tire­ment age, is as a con­se­quence of the trauma of the un­fold­ing events, and be­lieves this to be in her and the school’s best in­ter­ests,” said

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