Pupils call for return of suspended teachers

2014-11-27 00:00

BISLEY Park Primary pupils were up in arms yesterday when they were told three of their teachers and their principal had been ­suspended.

In the midst of pupils screaming, “Give us our teachers back”, the teachers were ­ordered to pack up their things and leave the school immediately.

One of the suspended teachers said the trouble had started in 2012 when the ­Department of Education appointed Vusi Khanyile as deputy principal, allegedly without following the correct procedures.

Yesterday, teachers and the governing body of Bisley Park retreated into the staff room while distraught children cried and banged on desks, chanting their suspended teachers’ names.

Khanyile tried to address the rest of the teachers who were livid at the suspensions and who said that he had been wrongfully appointed.

“Can I talk?” asked Khanyile, greeted with a resounding “No” from the rest of the staff.

“Khanyile was given the post of vice-principal by the Education Department without it being advertised. This has been our grievance all along,” said a teacher who declined to be named.

According to the source, the teachers had been suspended on allegations of abuse reported by Khanyile, but this was not confirmed.

Screams and chanting could be heard throughout the school as children ran freely from class to class, holding signs that demanded their beloved teachers come back to teach them.

Concerned mother Debbie Ferrier stood outside the gates of the school to collect her daughter. She said she had received a phone call from her distraught daughter asking her to come to the school immediately.

A Bisley Park Primary representative of the governing body, who asked not to be named, said the Education Department gave no reasons why the teachers and principal were suspended. “It is such a crucial time that this is happening at and we need to get to the bottom of this.”

The representative said this was a crucial point in the children’s schooling as it was exam and report time.

“The teachers who were suspended were mainly Grade 6 and 7 teachers.”

The representative said without the ­reports it would be difficult for the Grade 7 students to move into high school.

Khanyile, who was yesterday appointed the acting principal, declined to comment when asked about the commotion at the school.

Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said there had been no chaos at Bisley ­Park Primary and Khanyile’s appointment was “in line with the provisions provided in EEA no. 76 of 1998”.

“It is therefore incorrect to say that Mr Khanyile’s appointment is wrong. The ­department never acts outside of policy,” said Mlotshwa.

Mlotshwa said the suspensions were ­done on orders from the head of department following an investigation that was conducted a few months ago.

The governing body has called a meeting at the school today at 8 am.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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