More tension as parents and security guards clash outside Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke

2019-01-14 17:05
The entrance to Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke. (Deon Raath, Netwerk24)

The entrance to Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke. (Deon Raath, Netwerk24)

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There was pandemonium outside Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in the North West on Monday afternoon after security guards and parents clashed. The school is embroiled in a race controversy after a picture showing pupils at the school separated according to race went viral.

The confrontation on Monday happened after a man who had come to pick up his niece claimed he was refused entry into the school.

Thami Moremi said security guards told him to step outside the school when he tried to enter so he could fetch his niece who is in Grade R.

He retaliated by shouting at the security guards. Other parents outside the school gates joined Moremi, hurling insults at the guards and accusing them of being racists.

"I am coming back with more people in a minibus taxi. You are racists. I am bringing more people here. I will teach you a lesson. I have a child here. You come with sh*t.

"We don't want to see you here again. You are full of apartheid. We want the department to employ a black principal, we are tired of white people," Moremi said.

He claimed that he was angered after the school security guards told him to explain himself and asked what he was doing there.

"This school is full racists. I am asking the minister and MEC for education to shut down this school until all racists are gone. White people are not asked to explain themselves when they arrive at the school to fetch their children.

"Must I be white for me to access the school? Why does the school suddenly have security guards?" he asked.

READ: North West education department slams presence of armed guards at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke

Moremi pleaded with Education Minister Angie Motshekga to intervene in the matter before things get out of hand.

"Blacks are not taken seriously here. We ask the minister, peacefully, to act. Parents were not informed by the school that it will employ security guards. These guards are here not to protect our children... they are meant to intimidate black people," he said.

Suspended teacher seeking legal advice

Earlier on Monday morning provincial education department subdistrict manager Gopolang Valtyn said the presence of armed guards was against school policy. He ordered that the guards not carry their guns while on the school premises.

"No person is allowed to enter any school premises armed with any form of a weapon. We strongly condemned the decision by the governing body to employ armed guards," he said.

School governing body chairperson Jozeph du Plessis said security was beefed-up on Monday by the school after it received threats of violence.

The school gained notoriety last week after a photograph went viral on social media showing a group of black Grade R pupils sitting at a desk near a door, while white pupils sat at another desk. 

Teacher Ellen Barkhuizen, who allegedly took the photograph and posted it on a WhatsApp group for parents, was later suspended by the provincial department. The teacher who allegedly separated the children remains at the school.

Barkhuizen is currently consulting her legal team in Johannesburg while the education department and the South African Human Rights Commission conduct investigations into the matter.

Read more on:    education  |  racism

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