Michaelhouse, St John's gear up for disciplinary hearing over alleged racial slur

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St John's College, Johannesburg. Google© Streetview, Google Maps, taken 2016, accessed 2022.
St John's College, Johannesburg. Google© Streetview, Google Maps, taken 2016, accessed 2022.
  • There will be no mediation between the parties following a Michaelhouse pupil's alleged racial slur.
  • During a hockey match, a Michaelhouse pupil is alleged to have used a racial slur against a St John's College pupil.
  • The parties will go straight into a disciplinary process after the St John's pupil opted not to follow the mediation route.

While an independent investigator recommended mediation following the fall-out over an alleged racial slur during a hockey match between Michaelhouse and St John's College, the alleged victim has chosen an alternative route to remedy the situation.

The St John's College pupil and his family have opted to head straight to a disciplinary process.

The incident took place in May during a sporting derby weekend between the two schools.

The rest of the sporting programme was called off after a Michaelhouse first-team hockey player was alleged to have used an "egregious" racial slur against a St John's College opponent.

Both schools, at the time, agreed it wouldn't have been appropriate for further matches to continue.

The heads of the institutions, as well as their council chairpersons, considered the findings and recommendations, and mutually agreed with the respective boys and their parents to commit to mediation.

READ | Parents of Michaelhouse, St John's boys involved in racial spat agree to mediation process

This week, however, both schools confirmed that the St John's College pupil opted to head straight to the disciplinary process.

In a communique sent out on Monday by St John's headmaster, Stuart West, he indicated the aggrieved pupil would not participate in mediation.

He said: 

Following the half-term break, the St John's student, who alleged a racial slur was made against him during the Michaelhouse 1st XI hockey derby match, has decided, together with his family, not to pursue a mediation process.

"He feels the proposed mediation process would not bring the lasting personal closure he seeks," said West. 

West said the independent investigator's recommendation was that, in the event of either pupil or parents declining to engage in the mediation process, a formal disciplinary process should be followed.

"Michaelhouse is following this recommendation and will now conduct a formal disciplinary hearing on the matter, according to their disciplinary code and procedures. This will require the relevant staff and students from both schools to participate in that process."

West thanked the school community "for their patience and understanding".

"As an Anglican Diocesan school, we are conscious of our responsibility for ensuring that our words and deeds are consonant with our values and respect for human dignity, diversity and inclusion."

In a statement from the Michaelhouse rector and board chairman, the school confirmed a formal disciplinary process, as recommended by independent investigators, would be followed.

"Michaelhouse is following this recommendation now that mediation is no longer possible. Michaelhouse remains steadfastly committed to being an inclusive, non-discriminatory school community."

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