Teacher to be probed for allegedly threatening to put knee on pupils’ necks if they do not submit assignments

A protester's sign bleeds in the rain during a Black Lives Matters rally in downtown Colorado Springs, Colo., Saturday, May 30, 2020. Protests have been erupting all over the country after George Floyd died earlier this week in police custody in Minneapolis. (Christian Murdock/The Gazette via APPHOTO:
A protester's sign bleeds in the rain during a Black Lives Matters rally in downtown Colorado Springs, Colo., Saturday, May 30, 2020. Protests have been erupting all over the country after George Floyd died earlier this week in police custody in Minneapolis. (Christian Murdock/The Gazette via APPHOTO:
  • The life orientation teacher at Pinnacle College Kyalami allegedly made the George Floyd comment during a conference call.
  • She later apologised, saying she "never wanted to offend" them.
  • Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona said the matter would be probed.

The Gauteng education department said on Thursday it would probe an incident where a teacher reportedly threatened to re-enact the actions that led to led to American George Floyd's death if her pupils did not submit their assignments.

SowetanLive reported the life orientation teacher at Pinnacle College Kyalami allegedly made the comment during a conference call with her pupils on Thursday, for which she later apologised in a different call that was recorded.

According to the publication, she said: "It wasn't my intention and I didn't want to put someone down who lost their lives while people were watching and being helpless. I never wanted to offend you. I never wanted to offend Mr Floyd. I would never; I know you need time, but just know that I am not a person like that, I am not a racist person. I would never have done that. It was a silly thing that popped into my head."

Department spokesperson Steve Mabona said the matter would be probed.

"If these utterances are attributed to an educator, it is indeed concerning. We will launch our investigation into circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident," he added.

"We have been promoting non-racialism and will always advocate for the same in our schooling environment, irrespective whether public or independent/private schools."

Last Monday, police killed Floyd after he was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit banknote.

A video taken by a bystander shows an officer kneeling on his neck as he is pinned to the ground. At one point, Floyd is heard saying he could not breathe.

An independent autopsy later found he died of "asphyxiation from sustained pressure".

The official post-mortem report recorded his death as a homicide, the BBC reported.

Since then, four police officers have been charged, including Derek Chauvin who has been indicted for murder.

- Compiled by Tammy Petersen

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