SAHRC to probe allegations of homophobia at Hoërskool DF Malan

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The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is launching an investigation into allegations of homophobia at a Cape Town school.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is launching an investigation into allegations of homophobia at a Cape Town school.
File/News24
  • The SAHRC is probing allegations of homophobia at Hoërskool DF Malan.
  • A homophobic conflict allegedly took place between pupils at the school on Monday.
  • The incident is also under investigation by the education department.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is launching an investigation into allegations of homophobia at a Cape Town school.

Hoërskool DF Malan has found itself in the middle of a storm after it rejected a request by some pupils to commemorate "Pride Month" at the school. This resulted in a homophobic conflict among pupils at the school.

The request was denied based on the belief that it "could lead to tension and division within the school", school governing body chairperson Andre Roux previously told News24.

READ | Bullying incident caught on camera at yet another Eastern Cape school

During the commemoration at break time on Monday, pupils gathered on the school field with regalia featuring the gay pride flag. They were approached by a group of matric boys, and the situation quickly escalated into intimidation and shouting.

Some pupils were reportedly later added a homphobic slur to a WhatsApp group.

In a statement, the SAHRC said it had received numerous complaints from the public, "alleging that a group of LGBTI and gender non-conforming (GNC) learners [were subjected to] homophobic discrimination and hate speech by fellow learners and staff of the school".

"It is further alleged that the principal, in response to the incident, has banned further gatherings of LGBTI and GNC students in support of Pride Month on school premises.

Meeting

"The Commission is investigating these complaints and will be calling an urgent meeting with the principal of DF Malan High School and the Western Cape Department of Education to discuss these allegations and determine a way forward that is in the best interests of the learners of the school," the statement said.

Roux said the governing body would issue further comment after a meeting on Thursday night.

In the meantime, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said on Thursday that investigations into the allegations were underway.

"I am deeply concerned by the allegations of discrimination against LGBTQI+ learners at DF Malan High School, which we were alerted to [on Wednesday]. Such behaviour has absolutely no place in our schools. An investigation by the district is currently underway to establish the full facts of the matter, and we await the outcome thereof," she said.

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