Boy’s 3-year racist hell

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IOL news oct 9  ST Parkdene pupil 433 THE STAR The nine-year-old Parkdene Primary School pupil shows his string bracelet. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Johannesburg -

A Grade 3 pupil recently intentionally injured his hand with a car door to avoid going to school, where his music teacher allegedly shouts racial and derogatory slurs at him.

The boy’s parents claim he has been called a “c**lie” several times in front of his classmates by his teacher. And despite several complaints being laid against the teacher, nothing had been done.

On Monday, Gauteng Department of Education spokesman Charles Phahlane confirmed they had received a complaint from the boy’s parents a week ago. He said the department viewed the matter in a very serious light.

For the past three years, the pupil, aged nine, who may not be named, has allegedly had to endure abuse, harassment, name-calling and discrimination by his music teacher at Parkdene Primary School in Boksburg.

According to the boy’s father, the most recent incident occurred last month when the teacher called the child “deaf, dumb or stupid” after his father had complained to the principal that the teacher had verbally abused him.

The father said the teacher had pulled his son aside and said: “You little c**ie, if you keep complaining about me, I will make your life very difficult.”

The boy is now refusing to return to school for the final term.

In August, the child attempted to avoid school by smashing his hand in the car door as he was being dropped at school. “He was hoping we were going to allow him to stay at home,” his mother said.

According to the parents, the abuse apparently started in 2010 when the teacher, whose name is known to The Star, noticed the pupil was wearing a red string around his wrist as part of his Hindu religion. The teacher allegedly ordered the boy, at the time in Grade 1, to take the string off.

However, when the boy said he was not allowed to take it off as it was part of his culture, the teacher allegedly called him a “c**lie”.

The parents reported the abuse to the principal, but no steps were taken. Instead, they were told that the boy should wear a jersey to hide the string.

But the boy’s father said the wearing of the string was not against school policy and he was offended that the principal referred to it as “decoration”.

The parents said that when they continued complaining, the principal told them to take their son to another school.

But the couple have vowed to stand up for their rights. “We can’t allow our son to be intimidated by a teacher who still lives in the apartheid era,” said the father.

In desperation, last week the boy’s parents wrote to Education MEC Barbara Creecy, asking her to intervene.

Phahlane said: “The department is currently investigating the matter and we expect a full report within a week.”

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The Star

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