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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

School reverses expulsion of coloured pupils but SAHRC probe will still continue

05 July 2021

Cape Town - While HTS Drostdy school has made an about-turn on their decision to expel three coloured pupils from the hostel, it remains unclear whether their sponsorships will be reinstated.

The high school, in Worcester, came under fire last month over alleged discrimination and racism, after five boys were allegedly found in possession of dagga on the school premises.

Three of them were coloured and received harsh sanctions, including being kicked out of their accommodation and having their sponsorships withdrawn, while their textbooks and uniforms were confiscated.

Their two white counterparts were let off with only warnings.

In a letter dated July 29, sent to the parents and signed by the school principal, the parents were informed that the pupils can return to the school hostel on July 19, when school reopens after the holidays.

“Note that after deliberation and consultation, we decided to withdraw the sanction. However, the governing body wants to talk to you about the matter and asks for a meeting on Monday, July 19, at the school,” the letter read.

A phone call to the school on Friday went unanswered.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department was investigating the matter.

“The WCED engaged with the school and, after a review of the disciplinary procedures, the disciplinary committee decided to overturn the decision, with the pupils now able to return to the hostel,” said Hammond.

One of the parents, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was the first time she had been called by the school regarding her son's behaviour.

“I think when the sanction was being handed, the school could have also considered if the pupils are troublesome before resorting to expulsion. This is the first time I am being called to a meeting. This was a wake up call for him because ever since he was kicked out of the school, he has been very stressed here at home. I hope that the full scholarship will be reinstated because, at this stage, I’m experiencing financial problems and cannot afford his school fees,” said the parent.

The SA Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) Chris Nissen said their probe into the allegations cannot stop just because the pupils have been reinstated at the hostel.

“We welcome a change of heart from the school and to see the positivity out of this matter. We will still engage with the school to know the facts. We might accompany the parents to the school because our role is to bring parties together and ensure fairness. Colour should not play a factor at any disciplinary hearing,” said Nissen.

Source: Cape Times

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