More Park Town Boys High School teachers accused of misconduct

The Gauteng Department of Education has confirmed that four Park Town Boys High School teachers have been charged with committing misconduct in the form of racially inappropriate language.

Two were student governing body (SGB) teachers and two were employed by the department, spokesperson Steve Mabona said on Friday.

He said, as soon as the SGB was notified by the department, immediate action had been taken, and that the two SGB employees were no longer employed at the school.

"The two department employees were charged and attended a pre-hearing. The hearing was scheduled for the 30th May, 2018, but could not proceed as the witnesses (the learners) were not present and their parents did not want their identity to be disclosed to the employee representative.

"Parents of the learners who were meant to testify brought forward allegations of victimisation of the learners and, as a result, have refused to allow the learners to testify. The parents indicated that they are still consulting their lawyers."

He said Parktown Boys High School and the SGB had no evidence of the alleged victimisation at this stage.

"Letters of intention to transfer the two implicated educators to the district have been prepared. Upon receipt of the representation from the educators, the department will decide on the matter.

"Under normal circumstances, an educator facing disciplinary processes may be transferred if there is sufficient evidence of victimisation or interference with the witnesses as alleged in this case.

Culture of silence

"It is important that learners must be allowed to testify in a conducive environment so that they are afforded the opportunity to provide their evidence. The department, Parktown Boys High School and the SGB will deal with all allegations brought forward without fear, favour, or obstruction of any kind."

Mabona said the department was also aware of the criminal case against a teacher who allegedly slapped a pupil in March. The teacher was still at the school and was undergoing a disciplinary process, the outcome of which would determine what action was taken, he said.

He said some of the parents also complained that they were not treated fairly during the investigation into the water polo coach.

They also raised their concerns about the reviewed documents given to Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, which contained matters dating back to 1985.

"The department has appointed a law firm to review the findings and will be conducting an independent review of all these matters raised at the school in general, not just the complaints raised by a group of concerned parents," he said.

Lesufi said the culture of silence could not be condoned.

"This culture has had a severe impact on learners who have suffered tremendously. We will intensify our efforts to root out this culture of silence at the school."

ALSO READ: Maritzburg College boys' disciplinary halted so racism at school can be probed - education dept

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