- A petition calling for an apology from Hoërskool DF Malan has garnered more than 10 000 signatures.
- This comes after a homophobic conflict occurred between pupils at the school.
- The education department is investigating the incident.
A petition calling for a public apology from Cape Town-based Hoërskool DF Malan for an allegedly homophobic incident has garnered more than 10 000 signatures.
After the school rejected pupils' request for a "Pride Month" commemoration, some pupils staged a sit-in, in regalia that featured the Pride flag, during their break on Monday. A group of matric boys approached them and the situation quickly escalated into intimidation and shouting. Some pupils were reportedly added to a WhatsApp group which included a homophobic slur in its name.
Now outraged parents, pupils and members of the public want the school to take action.
"As a government school, it is DF Malan High School's responsibility to ensure that all their students feel safe and included in order to generate a successful learning environment. The fact that no action has been taken against the queerphobic students and the LGBTQI+ students have been blamed for the hate speech against them, is a violation of constitutional rights," the petition states.
Signatories are calling on the school to publicly apologise for "silencing the queer community in their school" and to take disciplinary action against any pupils who were found to have discriminated against LGBTQI+ pupils.
They also called on the school to hold educational seminars for pupils and teachers to promote inclusion.
The school rejected the request for the Pride celebration on school premises on the basis of the belief that it "could lead to tension and division within the school", school governing body chairperson Andre Roux previously told News24.
"The school regrets the incident and we realise that we need to work harder on our plans to promote mutual respect between each other. The school will investigate learners who have violated the school's code of conduct," Roux added.
Roux said the governing body would comment after a meeting on Thursday night.
In a statement on Thursday, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said investigations into the allegations were under way.
"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 under way to establish the full facts of the matter, and we await the outcome thereof," she said.
"We will work with the school to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. The [Western Cape Education Department] is committed to ensuring that our schools are inclusive spaces, where values of equality and non-discrimination are upheld. We expect our schools to take active steps to promote such an environment."