Frustrated parents stage sit-in

2009-04-09 00:00

THE school governing body (SGB) at Ridge View Primary in Northdale staged a sit-in at the Umgungundlovu district office this week to highlight its unhappiness with the principal.

The SGB said after a meeting with Education Department officials it is back at square one.

The SGB said it has the signatures of 30% of the parents who have expressed dissatisfaction over the management of the school.

According to the regulation and rules for SGBs of public schools, a governing body can convene a special meeting of parents within 30 days of receiving a petition signed by at least 20% of the parent body.

In the Ridge View case, the SGB said the meeting should have been conducted next Wednesday, but the principal allegedly refuses to distribute a notice to alert other parents of the meeting, even after this was reported to the department.

The parents are up in arms after the disbanding of the school governing body last August.

The parents and staff on the SGB previously accused the principal of violating the school’s code of conduct, dereliction of duties, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, maladministration and mismanagement.

This led to an investigation by the department, which resulted in the department withdrawing the functions of the SGB. Parents say this left them without a voice on the fees and budget.

The Witness has seen an eight-page report in which the SGB claims that these investigations were not to its satisfaction and that only peripheral issues were attended to.

“All the department did [this week] was to give us a commitment to meet with only the SGB parental component and school management within 10 days, to look for a way forward. It is … a talk show as far as we are concerned. The intention is to gag us from enlightening parents on the unacceptable conduct of our educators,” said the report.

The SGB claims the department’s failure to protect them when the principal’s attorney acted against them over its allegations is a clear indication of the department’s support for the principal. “We’ve been told that the principal is a no-go area. The department is of the view that he has done nothing wrong … He is boss and he can do what he wants.”

The principal is expected to appear in court soon for allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old pupil.

The Witness reported that the grade 5 pupil, Zakariya Khan, landed in the intensive care unit after the principal allegedly smacked him across the face.

The department was not available for comment.

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