Any dispute that is centred around the colour of someone’s skin is inherently ugly, and the debate swarming around this Sowetan high school is escalating dramatically.
On Monday, a large number of parents forced their children to miss school following Klipspruit West Secondary School’s decision to appoint a black headmaster.
The parents are all from a mainly coloured area, and they are maintaining that their issue is with the appointment process rather than race: They believe that the recruitment process was flawed to only ‘favour black applicants’.
Some spoke to Eyewitness News and revealed they were ‘tired of black teachers victimising their children’, whereas others claimed that black teachers – in general – are racially abusing their students.
After a long meeting between the government body, teachers union and parents, it was decided that the department “re-look” the new appointment and that a caretaker principal is appointed.
Naturally, this U-turn did not go down with a lot of school staff, who boycotted their teaching obligations on Wednesday.
There are always innocent parties in the crossfire, and unfortunately, it is the children of the school who are also receiving a huge disservice. The suspension of some classes is taking pupils out of education during their matric studies.
One student who spoke to the media said he’d had just the one lesson in a full school day.
Oupa Bodibe is a spokesperson for the Education Department. He fiercely condemned the group of parents and their reaction to the appointment.
The department has learnt the disturbing news that the community in Klipspruit West has rejected the principal because of skin colour. This action is strongly condemned, as it runs against the non-racial principles of our society. Educators are appointed on the basis of qualification and experience.”
The debate is set to rumble on and could take an incredibly long time to reach an amicable conclusion. If they stick with their current headmaster, will the parents continue to keep their kids away?
If they buckle to the pressure, does it set a dangerous precedent for the future? There are two sides to every story, but there has to be an outcome that prioritises the school’s pupils.