Teachers called pupils baboons, K-word

2014-07-23 15:56
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Bloemfontein - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found a Bloemfontein school's staff guilty of hate speech towards black and coloured pupils.

"The commission found against the principal and staff at Dr Viljoen Combined School in a racism case," SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said on Wednesday.

The SAHRC investigated allegations that pupils at the school were exposed to dehumanising and racist treatment by staff, including the principal, in May 2013.

Children at the school alleged staff called them racist, derogatory, and belittling names, such as "kaffirs, baboons, monkeys, and little black bitches".

Mangena said the commission found the remarks clearly constituted hate speech as defined by the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

"These acts of hate speech constitute a clear violation of both the right to equality and human dignity of the learners," he said.

The school failed to create a learning environment free from harmful elements, such as racist utterances and demeaning remarks. This further violated both the right to education and children's rights.

The commission made various recommendations for the school and the Free State education department.

Both institutions had to develop procedures for countering racism.

The school's governing body had to establish policies and guidelines to counter racism and submit them to the SAHRC for review.

The school and department had to increase teachers' and pupils' understanding of racism.

The department had to train school staff to value diversity, to understand other cultures, and develop strategies to counter racism, all within six months.

Free State education spokesperson Howard Ndaba said the department had received the commission's report and was studying it.

The school's principal was not immediately available for comment.

- SAPA
Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  education  |  racism
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