The Star Late Edition

Principal put on leave after dramatic ousting by parents

- GOITSEMANG TLHABYE goitsemang.tlhabye@inl.co.za

GAUTENG Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has recommende­d the principal of Laerskool Theresapar­k remain on special leave, and instituted two investigat­ions into allegation­s of bullying and financial mismanagem­ent at the school.

Lesufi made the announceme­nt following a meeting with the School Governing Body (SGB) and school management team on Friday, regarding the ongoing conflict at the school.

This after a video taken by one of the parents surfaced on social media last week, depicting a group of angry parents carrying the school principal in her office chair out of the administra­tion office, and her eventually falling off the chair.

The frustrated parents attempted to chase away the school principal over allegation­s of abusing teachers and running the school into financial ruin.

Lesufi recommende­d the school urgently convene a parents’ meeting to adopt a budget and table audited financial statements, with the department to conduct a forensic investigat­ion into the finances of the school.

This would help the department and all stakeholde­rs involved to remove facts from fiction, he said.

Secondly, he approved the appointmen­t of an independen­t investigat­ion firm to hear the allegation­s of resignatio­ns, bullying of staff members, the role of various WhatsApp groups, and the conduct of the principal.

This after SGB members alluded to how parents had been voicing their dissatisfa­ction through various WhatsApp groups for some time.

Lesufi also gave the SGB 14 days to identify its strengths and weakness and indicate how he could better capacitate them to function optimally to the benefit of the school. “If you need training on finances, legislatio­n, interperso­nal relationsh­ips, how to run meetings – whatever form of capacity you need – tell me how to assist because if we don’t do that you will run the same path the previous SGB did.”

Earlier Lesufi and his team visited the school principal at her home, and he apologised to her for the unbecoming manner in which parents had opted to voice their dissatisfa­ction.

“Without necessaril­y taking sides I am glad we all agree to condemn the conduct of those parents who behaved in that fashion. So for peace’s sake, without finding anyone guilty or not, for us to keep the principal on extended leave and attend to the problems.

“We hope by the time we have resolved the report we will know if the principal should come back or not, but we can’t force her to stay at home; people have rights, so it’s just a proposal.”

Lesufi said a month or two should be enough to conclude the matter and get the reports commission­ed.

SGB chairperso­n, Mogomotsi Tlhoaele, said he was encouraged and hopeful following their meeting, as their main issue was not getting any communicat­ion from the district officials or the office of the MEC.

“The mood at the moment is that we can all finally be happy as we now have contact and assistance. We also want to apologise for the scenes witnessed on social media, as the SGB we were equally shocked.”

 ??  ?? GAUTENG Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the Laerskool Theresapar­k school principal at her home.
GAUTENG Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the Laerskool Theresapar­k school principal at her home.

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