Cornwall Hill College: SAHRC to interview pupils over racism claims

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Pupils at Cornwall Hill College in Pretoria taking a stand against racism.
Pupils at Cornwall Hill College in Pretoria taking a stand against racism.
Deann Vivier
  • Cornwall Hill College is at the centre of accusations of racism and discrimination.
  • Parents and pupils have called on the school to work on its transformation policy.
  • The school has met with the SA Human Rights Commission to address the issues raised by pupils and parents.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SARHC) will be interviewing pupils from Cornwell Hill College and other stakeholders following accusations of racism at the school. 

In a statement on Friday, the school said it had met with the SAHRC on Thursday and reached a principle agreement with it to act as a third party and conduct interviews with pupils, staff, management, the board of directors and a sample of parents to get to the bottom of the issues raised by pupils and parents. 

"We had an extremely fruitful meeting with the SAHRC and believe that their services will be extremely useful to us. They have offered us their input and expertise, and we truly appreciate their willingness to walk alongside us on this journey," said executive principal Leon Kunneke.

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

On Monday, parents and pupils braved the cold weather to hand over a memorandum of demands to the school. Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was also in attendance.

In addition, a number of students and parents gathered at the school holding placards about the lack of inclusion at the school and a hair policy that discriminated against black pupils' natural hair.

The memorandum called on, among other things, the school to take concrete steps to change its culture, and make it inclusive and supportive of different races and cultures.

Critical

"We fully recognise the importance of being open and honest about such a critical issue for our school and for the country. We will therefore be drawing on the input from a variety of expert partners and consultancies in designing our transformation road map.

"We aim to ensure that our college remains an educational institution of choice with an environment that is welcoming and inclusive to all," Kunneke said in a statement.  

The school added it invited the SAHRC to have an input in reviewing its policies, procedures and code of conduct for pupils.

READ | Transformation debate: Schools have to change their ethos, and parents also have a role to play

It said it had begun work on a diversity programme that would be rolled out over the course of the next few months.

"We value the SAHRC's assistance as well as the ongoing input and guidance from the diversity and transformation committee. We will continue to report back on our progress through official channels so that our immediate stakeholders will be able to see the positive progress that is being made," added Kunneke.

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