Teacher tells of neglect, tension at ‘rape’ principal’s school

2009-06-16 00:00

THE school at Camperdown (see page 1), where the principal has been suspended after being charged with the rape of a pupil, is not a happy place.

A teacher said yesterday that many teachers are relieved about the suspension, but conditions are bad.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the teacher said they are demotivated and feel like they have been let down by the Education Department, which has failed to act when issues are reported. “We have approached the ward manager on numerous occasions, complaining about a host of issues since last year. But not once have Education officials come to address teachers and find out what our grievances are.”

According to the teacher, many people have since requested transfers and left as a result.

“The school’s physical condition is appalling. We have no windows, the floors have cracks and holes, the toilets are stinky and the children’s [toilets] especially have maggots.

“The school has electricity, but we can’t access it because the plugs are all messed up. We had no desks and one teacher got so fed up they wrote to the minister of Education about it.

“The school is overcrowded, everything is a big mess. There is no transparency about how the school funds are being spent. And it is not that the department is not aware: they just choose to do nothing. As far as I’m concerned, the school should just be closed down.”

The teacher said the staff are divided into two camps— those who support the principal, and those who have challenged his management style and feel they have become targets because of this.

The situation has been festering for some time, the teacher said, but things reached boiling point when a group of younger teachers questioned the principal last year about R160 000 worth of school funds that ended up in the school clerk’s personal account.

The teacher alleges that the situation has become so bad that the principal announced in a staff meeting that he might not personally kill someone, but he has enough social clout to hire someone to do it. “The problem is that he is someone from the area and has strong connections within the department. He always boasts about it. He has worked as principal for 10 years and he is not used to being challenged. So when younger staff came in and started asking questions, he couldn’t handle it,” said the teacher.

But the principal’s suspension has helped many cope psychologically without “the constant threats”, the teacher said.

The department had not commented by the time of going to press last night.

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