Cape school’s policies found to be biased
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