Eldorado Park school impasse: Parents want teachers charged, department wants them to teach

2019-01-14 21:06
Eldorado Park Secondary School. (RianteP via Twitter)

Eldorado Park Secondary School. (RianteP via Twitter)

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There appears to be an impasse at Eldorado Park Secondary School as disgruntled parents of pupils demand that seven of the school's teachers be charged, claiming that they falsely accused the principal of abuse.

Although the Gauteng Education Department claims that the teachers were cleared of any wrongdoing, they are still being barred by protesters from entering the premises and going back to work.

The parents gathered outside the school on Monday morning to prevent the seven teachers from entering the premises. They did not arrive. In fact, they have not taught at the school for 13 months.

School governing body (SGB) member Glenwell Sweetland explained that a report showed that the department had appointed a law firm to conduct an investigation into allegations against the principal, such as no teaching and learning due to lack of teachers; corruption and financial mismanagement; failure to resolve issues; appointments; an alleged assault by the principal; racism and principal conduct.

Brandishing a knife against an educator

The firm found that the principal brandished a knife against one of the educators. It also found that the principal organised members of the community to allegedly intimidate an educator.

However, no findings of financial mismanagement or incidents of racism were made.

"As we speak, all seven charges that were levelled against the principal [by the teachers] was found to be false or untrue," Sweetland told News24.

"What is good for the one is good for the other," he added.

Sweetland said it was not clear why the teachers made the allegations. 

"I don't know the motive. I would love to know. This is the question we have been asking. What was the reason for this?

"Now we are saying, charge them for what they have done. We can't allow them to just walk back in," he added.

According to the Gauteng Department of Education, the teachers tried to return to their posts on January 9, but were barred from entering the school grounds. 

A longstanding issue

"The longstanding issue is the refusal by some community members to accept the seven educators back at the school. The said educators were chased out of the school last year and an investigation was conducted and cleared all educators of any wrongdoing," Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said in a statement.

"This matter was also a subject for the Human Rights Commission, [and] we are waiting for outcome", he said.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi added: "The department has had several consultative meetings with all relevant stakeholders and encourages the community to accept all affected teachers to teach, failing which will necessitate that we explore other options to resolve this matter."

Eldorado Park Secondary School obtained an 85.4% pass rate in the NSC 2018 examinations.

"Therefore, we urge the principal and SGB to ensure that the teachers are welcomed at the school and that their work conditions are favourable," Lesufi said.

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