Pupils must be involved in deciding hair policy - Western Cape MEC

2016-09-09 15:23
Debbie Schafer

Debbie Schafer

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Cape Town - Schools must include the input of pupils, parents and teachers in the drawing up of new codes of conduct regarding hair and language policies, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer has said.

Schafer issued a circular to schools in the province on Thursday, saying Codes of Conduct must be in line with the "inclusive values" of the Constitution, following countrywide protests over hair policy.

"When drafting a code of conduct, all stakeholders of the school, namely parents, teachers and learners (including the Representative Council of Learners) must be involved and that the process must be participatory, open and transparent," the circular ordered.

"If there are disagreements or uncertainties regarding the content of the code of conduct, it is important that this be discussed and ironed out among stakeholders before the code is formally adopted."

She also said:
- A code of conduct is a legal document;
- It must make provision for a dispute resolution process;  
- A governing body must act within its powers and in the best interests of the school and learners.

"Discipline and authority is required at all schools. However, it is important that there is a healthy balance between school discipline and behaviour and individual rights," she concluded.

Confusion over new Sans Souci code of conduct

A letter, purportedly written by Sans Souci Girls’ High School administrators detailing "definite changes" to its code of conduct on hair and language, caused confusion on Thursday, News24 reported.

Former pupil and protest organiser Billie Jean Demas said girls did not know who had formulated the new policies mooted in the letter.

She said teachers, pupils, parents, and alumni were not consulted about the new policies, as was agreed during a meeting with Schafer on Monday evening.

The Western Cape Education Department, speaking on behalf of the school, said the school had issued the letter to inform parents that, while the code of conduct was under review, some rules were still in place.

"Changes to San Souci’s code of conduct are still under discussion," spokesperson Millicent Merton told News24.

Schafer attended a meeting at the school on Monday evening to formally receive a memorandum from protesters.

Read more on:    education  |  racism

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