New house mother a positive move

2017-02-14 06:02
A house mother of Wynberg Girls’ High School has been found not guilty on all the allegations against her but she has stopped working at the school. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

A house mother of Wynberg Girls’ High School has been found not guilty on all the allegations against her but she has stopped working at the school. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Wynberg Girls’ High School principal Shirley Harding says things are moving in the right direction after the school appointed a new hostel superintendent.

“Everything is going well with the girls. We now have a black superintendent and we are moving ahead positively. The girls are having discussion groups which are helpful. The girls have a voice and with the demographics of the school we had to bring in a new superintendent who can understand them as well,” says Harding.

The former hostel superintendent stopped working at the school after she was investigated following allegations brought to light in a statement by learners. She has been found not guilty of the 19 allegations.

The house mother was investigated last year after learners complained and released a statement of allegations on social media.

Despite being innocent of the charges, she has stopped working at the school in what is said to be a mutual agreement between her and the school governing body.

In the anonymous two-page statement learners demanded that the house mother be removed, that Harding be investigated for her perceived lack of action against the house mother and that a transformation report be released. Allegations against the house mother included that she was racist and that she broke confidences.

Following the release of the allegations the provincial department of education conducted an investigation and the school commissioned an independent investigation.

Provincial education minister Debbie Schafer announced last week that the house mother had been found not guilty of ­misconduct.

“It is clear from both investigations that this case is a classic example of the kind of hysteria that can be whipped up by people who are irresponsible and have no regard for the reputational damage they can cause.

“Probably the two most serious allegations were that the superintendent had referred to black learners using a racist term in an incident that had occurred at the beginning of last year and that she had touched learners inappropriately.”

Both of these allegations were untrue, Schafer says.

“In respect of the rest of the allegations, there were one or two incidents in respect of each case where the superintendent did or said things that the girls did not like or where the girls interpreted them in a way that portrayed the superintendent negatively. In many of the issues, the superintendent was simply doing her job,” she says.


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