Johannesburg - What was meant to be a farewell celebration by pupils to matriculants at Mondeor High School has turned sour with allegations of racism and disciplinary action against pupils scheduled at the school this weekend.
The alleged racism has drawn the ire of some parents, who expressed outrage that racially charged remarks were made at the school’s assembly this week to black pupils.
Several pupils at the school accused the school’s principal, Vangelia Nicolaou, of allegedly telling black pupils they were “blackening the name of the school”.
This, according to the pupils at the school, came after Tuesday’s matricday where many of them were involved in throwing water in buckets and eggs at one another in what they claim is a routine event that takes place annually to bid farewell to matriculants.
But the event also saw two chickens being allegedly kicked to death after they were brought to the school by pupils. The chickens were apparently carried around in their school bags for two hours and used as rugby balls.
One of the chicken’s feet was bound as the boys kicked it to death, according to Beeld newspaper. Following this, the five matrics went around the school with the two dead chickens to scare the other pupils.
The Gauteng Department of Education confirmed it was disturbed by the alleged conduct of Grade 12 pupils at the school and that the school had reported the incident to the district. Several attempts to reach the school’s principal were unsuccessful yesterday. But the department’s spokesman, Pumla Sekhonyane, said the they had not received any complaint relating to the alleged racism.
“We do find such allegations unacceptable and request any parent with information… to provide it to the department for necessary action,” she said.
Asked whether the principal was denying making the alleged remarks, Sekhonyane said they would have to investigate as they were not aware of the allegations until the Saturday Star brought it up.
She said the parents of pupils who were involved in the incident had been invited together with the pupils to a disciplinary hearing this weekend.
However, a mother of one Grade 9 pupil who said her daughter informed her of the remarks allegedly made by the principal at the schools’ assembly said she was appalled.
“It’s shocking we still have people who can make such comments in a democracy,” she said. “I spoke to another parent who was equally outraged.”
One pupil said that the principal had said it was black pupils who were damaging the reputation of the school. “She said: ‘I am not being racist, but you guys are blackening the school’s name’,” said the pupil.
She said that when they tried to voice their dissatisfaction with the principal, she urged them to put it in writing.
A pupil said the remarks were not the first to be made against pupils. “Once, teacher had told one of her classmates to “stop acting like a black person”.
One parent added
: “No matter what the children are said to have done, there’s nothing that justifies racism.”