Race row teacher flees

Pretoria News Weekend - - METRO - MOLAOLE MONTSHO

THE sus­pended teacher at the cen­tre of the race storm at Laerskool Sch­weizer-reneke has ap­par­ently fled town.

Yes­ter­day, while the school was open, many par­ents did not send their chil­dren to school, while some white par­ents ar­rived dur­ing the morn­ing to re­move their chil­dren.

The school was the site of protests by var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions, with many call­ing for the head­mas­ter to be sus­pended pend­ing a probe into the school man­age­ment.

At the school, the sit­u­a­tion was tense yes­ter­day as black par­ents chanted out­side the locked gate while white par­ents held the gate to pre­vent black par­ents from breaking through. On the other side of the school, white par­ents broke the fence and re­moved their chil­dren from the school.

“The prin­ci­pal must be sus­pended,” pro­test­ers told the North West Education MEC, Sello Le­hari.

The out­rage comes after a pic­ture de­pict­ing four black chil­dren seated at a cor­ner ta­ble sep­a­rated from a large group of white chil­dren in the Grade R class went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia on the first day of term on Wed­nes­day.

The teacher, a Ms Barkhuizen, re­port­edly sent the pic­ture to par­ents in a What­sapp group show­ing them that the chil­dren were set­tling in well on their first day at school.

Le­hari held a meet­ing with school man­age­ment and an­nounced that the teacher had been sus­pended with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Re­ports yes­ter­day in­di­cated that she was trau­ma­tised and she and her fam­ily did not feel safe. Par­ents came to her de­fence, say­ing she loved her charges.

The school is the only one in the town, and is pre­dom­i­nantly white.

The Young Com­mu­nist League said the school should be closed tem­po­rar­ily to al­low the af­fected chil­dren to heal. They called for the sus­pended teacher to be re­placed with a black teacher.

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