Too strict? Deputy head kicked out

2010-06-15 00:00

THE deputy principal at a KwaPata school has been kicked out by parents who have challenged his policy of locking out pupils who are late for school.

They also claim he hits pupils with pipes and has no respect for them as parents.

But the teacher, who wanted his name withheld, believes that his unpopularity is caused by his efforts to hold teachers accountable and his questioning of certain practices that are not in line with the Schools Act.

An angry crowd made up of parents and community members allegedly stormed into the school recently carrying placards and demanding to speak to the teacher.

When the teacher refused to go out to the crowd and asked them to appoint a spokesperson, his car was damaged as he tried to leave the premises, he said.

He told The Witness that he joined Khethindlelenhle Primary School in February. He said he was redeployed from another school after enrolment had dropped at that school.

The teacher said he believes some of his new colleagues had hoped to get his job. So when he started challenging teachers who were missing classes and questioning those who managed their businesses during working hours, he claims his unpopularity escalated.

“I really felt unwelcome. I met with a lot of resistance whenever I tried to do my work. There was always this feeling that there should have been someone else taking over,” he said.

“I found that there were no clear policies on safety and security at the school. There were no guidelines about gatekeeping and no clear indication when teachers were required to start or leave school …”

He said he was the one who challenged corporal punishment at the school and believes it is the other teachers who are in the wrong.

He added that corrupt school governing body (SGB) members are inciting parents to protest.

The teacher alleged that some of the corrupt practices taking place at the school involve a lack of accountability for money collected through fund-raising initiatives. He also claimed that teachers get paid from school funds for attending training workshops and SGB members claim payment for doing voluntary work.

The teacher said these SGB members claim up to R600 each month for “airtime”.

He added that on top of their salaries, grade R teachers also receive R500 from school funds.

SGB chairperson Philani Ndlovu denied that the SGB is against the teacher. He said he is not aware of the infighting among the teachers.

“If anything, we are in the bad books with the community because we tried to protect him from the angry crowd,” said Ndlovu.

He said the SGB was not notified about the protest.

“They [community members] were saying that they did not want a ‘dustbin’ because the teacher was apparently kicked out from other schools for being a problem maker.”

Ndlovu denied any knowledge of corruption at the school. He said the decision to pay the grade R teachers was made by former SGB members, but this was stopped at the beginning of the financial year in April. He added that money collected through fundraising projects was deposited into the school’s bank account and will be used to install an intercom system.

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