Rights group visits school

2009-09-11 00:00

MEMBERS of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) spent time with the principal and staff of Scottsville Primary School over allegations of racism that followed the suicide of 13-year-old pupil Nduduzo Qulo on Sunday.

The delegation said they are not launching their own official investigation into the allegations, but will offer assistance.

Thanuja Munno, HRC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial manager, spent at least two hours with the school principal, Bobby Nefdt, while her colleagues talked with pupils and teachers.

Explaining the visit, she said the HRC is not instituting an official investigation of the school, but is there “to assist the school in any capacity and department of Education with its investigation into to the allegations”.

“We are here to try and establish what happened and to assist the department of Education and the school in whatever capacity we can” she said.

She said she cannot reveal the details of what they are investigating as the department has instituted its own investigation.

“The things that we were looking at are obviously some of the things that the department of Education will be investigating.”

The HRC’s visit to the school comes after allegations that Nduduzo, who committed suicide on Sunday, was treated badly by his teacher.

This incident has sparked a racial storm with a flurry of comments.

Some parents claim that their children have been discriminated against in formerly white-only schools.

One parent said her child, studying at another city school, came to the brink of depression because of the treatment he was subjected to in school.

“Every day I fear that my child could become Nduduzo because of the discrimination,” said the parent. “They keep my child away from other kids with the security guard because they say he is violent and yet I have never even received a note of any incident.”

Another parent complained that his child, at a different school, said the teachers fail to control the children so they try to pump them with drugs.

“If a child is hyperactive, they tell you to put them on Ritalin or remove your child from the school.”

The Education Department has declined to comment and its regulations prevent the school from doing so.

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