Abuse probe underway at Wynberg Girls' High

2016-11-22 12:24
WCED office. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

WCED office. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – An investigation is underway into allegations of racial abuse and inappropriate behaviour by a house mother of Wynberg Girls' High School, the Western Cape education department said on Tuesday.

MEC Debbie Schafer said the “serious and concerning allegations of racism, discrimination and misconduct” were being probed and that no pupils would be victimised for speaking out.

A district official visited the school on Monday, after pupils released a statement in which they called for the house mother’s immediate removal.

“We are not able to provide timelines for the investigation as this is a thorough process that will involve interviewing all parties involved,” she said.

The department was mindful that the pupils were writing their year-end exams, which conclude on November 28.

On Monday, a pupil told News24 that most of the incidents they were upset about involved black pupils, who are in the majority in the hostel.

Parenting skills

READ: Sans Souci racism row: MEC orders new code of conduct for school

She said the girls had resorted to releasing the statement after telling those at the school about their concerns on a number of occasions. They had conducted surveys, held meetings, and tried to get their parents to intervene.

Pupils claim the woman called black pupils "bloody kaffirs" and told the girls that they should not be offended because they used the word in reference to each other. The girls denied this.

They allege the woman told them black pupils would make the hostel unhygienic, and that she overruled permission granted by their parents, implying that they did not have parenting skills.

They claim the woman tells them inappropriate stories, including having had five abortions, being a former drug addict, worshipping the devil, and working for former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

READ: Black schoolgirls forced to straighten hair, say blackness discouraged

The woman touches and kisses them inappropriately, even when they ask her to stop, the pupils allege.

The school said it had asked the Western Cape Education Department to intervene and had forwarded the pupils’ letter to the department.

It called for an independent investigation to protect the school’s integrity, its management, and pupils. The process would be a healthy and transparent way to address all concerns, it said in a statement.

The independent investigation would be established urgently and the school would implement whatever the recommendations were made.

Read more on:    cape town  |  child abuse  |  education

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