Girl’s high school principal retires after trauma of ‘hair uprising’

2017-01-19 06:01

An investigation by the Western Cape Education Department has revealed that a number of discriminatory practices have occured at Sans Souci Girls’ High School.

“The investigation found that a number of discriminating practices gave rise to understandable unhappiness among learners and steps have already been taken to remedy these,” Western Cape education department head Brian Schreuder said on Tuesday.

The department started an investigation following disruptions at the Newlands based school last year.

Pupils from various Cape Town high schools protested at the school in September during countrywide unhappiness about discriminatory school policies, including how Black girls could wear their hair.

Schreuder said the department would work with Sans Souci to review its code of conduct and hair policy, and create a climate of inclusivity for all cultures and faiths.

Schreuder said the department had sought legal advice on the debacle, but concluded that evidence was unlikely to lead to any dismissals.

However, a “number of unacceptable practices were identified which require revision and correction”.

The school’s culture should be inclusive, orderly, and disciplined.

Sans Souci principal Charmaine Murray retired at the end of December.

“She has indicated that her decision, while of retirement age, is as a consequence of the trauma of the unfolding events and believes this to be in her and the school’s best interests.”

Schreuder said the department had learnt valuable lessons from the matter and would try to prevent such practices in future.

The department welcomed input from pupils and aggrieved parties, but would not tolerate actions that made well-functioning Western Cape Schools ungovernable.

“Order and discipline are cornerstones of good education institutions.”

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