High school pupil’s racist rants get her sus­pended

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BER­NADETTE WOLHUTER

A GRADE 11 Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Girls’ High School pupil – be­lieved to have re­peat­edly used the word “k ***** ” in two au­dio record­ings which have now gone vi­ral on so­cial me­dia – has been sus­pended.

The girl’s iden­tity can­not be re­vealed be­cause she is a mi­nor, but the KwaZulu-Natal De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s spokesper­son, Kwazi Mthethwa, yes­ter­day con­firmed her sus­pen­sion.

He said they had pre­pared a let­ter to her par­ents, in­form­ing them she was be­ing sus­pended pend­ing the out­come of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mthethwa said that any fur­ther dis­ci­plinary ac­tion would de­pend on what was re­vealed in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Our main aim is to cor­rect her be­hav­iour,” he said. “She was not born racist, no one is. She has picked this kind of lan­guage up from some­where.”

He also said the de­part­ment was go­ing to broaden its in­ves­ti­ga­tion and probe al­le­ga­tions that this was not an iso­lated in­ci­dent. The record­ings sparked an out­cry on so­cial me­dia.

One Twitter user said: “Maybe now they’ll ac­tu­ally ad­dress the con­stant is­sue of racism at that school since it’s af­fect­ing some­thing they care about. Qhubekani.”

In an­other post she said: “I re­mem­ber, in 2015, a yt girl in Grade 11 then, said black girls don’t need an ed­u­ca­tion to be maids. What was done about that konje? Lol! (sic).”

An­other Twitter user, and pupil at the school, said: “We writ­ing ex­ams. Teach­ers went around to ev­ery class telling girls to calm down. Ap­par­ently they said she was stressed and con­fused.”

Mthethwa said the de­part­ment was also look­ing into this.

Mean­while, a pe­ti­tion – call­ing for the school gov­ern­ing body to take ac­tion against the girl al­legedly in­volved, and racism in gen­eral – has been cre­ated.

Those be­hind it want:

The girl to is­sue an un­re­served, pub­lic apol­ogy, “in writ­ing as well as in front of the whole school at assem­bly”.

The girl is to be banned from tak­ing up any lead­er­ship po­si­tions at the school.

The school houses are to be re­named in hon­our of “South African women who were in­volved in the Strug­gle against apartheid”.

A zero-tol­er­ance anti-racism pol­icy to be im­ple­mented, with a trans­par­ent process for re­port­ing racist in­ci­dents at the school.

Pupils be­ing ad­mit­ted to the school to be made to at­tend a com­pul­sory course on race re­la­tions in South Africa, “cov­er­ing things such as the his­tory be­hind the use of the k-word, the con­sti­tu­tion and the ne­ces­sity of trans­for­ma­tion in an un­equal so­ci­ety”.

Pupils at the school have planned a silent protest on Fri­day.

In the first of the record­ings at the root of the furore, the girl says: “I’m so of­fended right now. F ****** k ****** don’t know how to pro­nounce my name. Yoh they go­ing to get it from me on Mon­day. You don’t dare put me on that… (sic)”.

In the sec­ond, she says: “But at the end of the day I still have to put up with this whole flip­ping grade. Flip­ping k ****** not know­ing how to flip­ping spell and pro­nounce my name. ’Cos you’re not in my shoes right now.”

The record­ings were cir­cu­lated widely on var­i­ous so­cial me­dia plat­forms and it is un­der­stood the rant was spurred by some­one on the Spring Ball com­mit­tee for the Grade 11s mis­spelling the name of the girl in the record­ings.

The SGB has is­sued a state­ment con­demn­ing the lan­guage used in the record­ings and stat­ing it has a “zero-tol­er­ance” pol­icy on racism.

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