15 January 2019

South Africa: More Suspensions Could Follow At Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke - North West Education Dept

Photo: EyeWitness News/YouTube
Elana Barkhuizen, who was suspended last week after a photo she took went viral. It showed black and white pupils seated at separate tables in a grade R classroom.

More heads could roll at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke, the North West education department said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Freddy Sepeng said if the department's investigations show more people are to blame for separating children in a Grade R class by race, it would not hesitate to wield its axe.

Last week, the school suspended Elana Barkhuizen for allegedly taking photographs showing the children sitting separately. One of the images went viral, sparking outrage and discussion across the country.

Barkhuizen and trade union Solidarity are expected to address the media on Tuesday afternoon about the teacher's suspension. It is understood they will confirm that they will take legal action over Barkhuizen's suspension.

The union claims that Barkhuizen's suspension was unlawful.

Barkhuizen was the educator who took the photos, but it was not the class she taught. The teacher who heads the Grade R class remains at the school.

Sepeng confidently said the department had suspended the "right person".

"The culprit was pointed out to us by the school governing body and the principal as the one who is guilty of the offence. If our investigations reveal that more people are implicated in the scandal, we will not hesitate to suspend those people.

"Even if the principal is linked, we are also going to suspend the principal," he said.

Sepeng promised that the report into allegations of racism at the school would be released by the end of February.

On Tuesday morning, several security guards were seen roaming around the schoolyard, while learning and teaching was taking place.

Source: News24

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