Racial segregation alleged at top Pretoria school

Johannesburg - A group of parents whose children attend an upmarket private Pretoria school are demanding to know why classes are apparently divided along racial lines.

A group of about 30 parents of pupils at Curro Foundation School in Roodeplaat signed a petition demanding to know why some classes are made up entirely of black pupils and other classes have only white pupils, Eyewitness News reported on Thursday.

The school says it is not racial segregation but rather a formula for making sure children don’t feel isolated and make friends with others who share their culture.

But Curro Holdings’s André Pollard says that in some grades they have a very small number of white pupils who they try and keep together in one group.

He says once they have 12 or more children, they divide them equally into classes.

A meeting will be held on Thursday evening in which the school will attempt to explain its policy to parents.

Dr Chris van der Merwe, CEO of Curro Holdings, told News24 on Thursday that people were under the mistaken impression that there were separate white and black classes.

"On day one, when the school opened, the principal sat with six white children in Grade R, and put them in a class where there are 12 black children, so this class was perfectly integrated.

"Enrolments got bigger after the school year started and another six white children enrolled. The principal allocated them to different classes to spread them equally," Van der Merwe explained.

Last year, fees for Grade R pupils at the school came to just under R25 000, the school’s website shows. This excluded lunch, transport, aftercare, music lessons and textbook fees.

People took to social media to express their anger at the separation of pupils.

“...What breaks my heart is that my child is at one of these Curro Schools. Why [can’t] we let children [be and] decide [for themselves]?” tweeted Sthando Moloi.

“Places like the Curro Foundation school is teaching racism from a young age,” said Ntsika Msuthu.

“We pay high private school fees so our kids can be in an integrated system. Don’t these Curro schools understand this?” asked Sue Fay.

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