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Cosas late for own school shutdown after entering on false pretences the day before

Cosas was unable to disrupt teaching at Curro High School as promised this morning over the non-suspension of a learner accused of cyberbullying and racism. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Cosas was unable to disrupt teaching at Curro High School as promised this morning over the non-suspension of a learner accused of cyberbullying and racism. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 26, 2022

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Cape Town - Curro High School in the Western Cape quashed allegations of racism, stating that both learners involved in the recent uproar were black.

Heightened security measures were in place at the school in Somerset West in response to threats by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) to shut down and disrupt schooling yesterday.

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After an altercation with a Curro executive on Tuesday, Cosas said no teaching would take place over the school’s non-suspension of a learner accused of bullying and physical assault, and racism at the school.

Cosas said it would arrive at 7.30am to shut down the school, however members arrived only at 9am after all learners had entered the school.

Attorney Unathi Mbebe said her client reached out to her after her daughter, a Grade 9 learner at the school, received “violent, threatening and intimidating” voice notes. The learner also claimed to have been hit by the perpetrating learner on the netball field.

She stayed out of school while her parent searched for an alternative school. The incident was reported on May 11, and the learner has left the school.

“The parent raised the matter with the school’s head. However, the school is failing to enforce its own policy around learner code of conduct,” she said.

Mbebe said she was not aware of her client’s daughter having experienced racism at the school.

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“After I was involved, which is also something that’s baffling, because why must attorneys be involved before the school can start doing something about the matter, the school offered some form of counselling because the child is obviously traumatised. And the school offered the victim private classes in the afternoon while the perpetrator attends normal classes with other kids and continues with her life as normal. So I don’t know if those are reasonable solutions,” she said.

The parent is calling for suspension of the learner, as a consequence.

Cosas acting provincial secretary Mphumzi Giwu said the organisation had received complaints from other learners about racial discrimination and bullying at the school, and racial remarks were made to the student prior to the reported incident.

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“This is a school that speaks highly of their very own policies that they’re failing to even implement.

“Policies that are being broken by certain learners or certain individuals in the school, that they are scared of taking disciplinary actions against them.”

Curro executive: corporate services, Mari Lategan, confirmed that both learners were in Grade 9 and of the same race.

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“The parents were called in. The parents have been offered support, counselling, mediation. All of those support measures as per our normal protocols were put in place.”

A recent statement by Curro Holdings followed, which referred to a “successful” meeting with Cosas.

In a previous statement, Curro spokesperson Natasha Mkhize said Cosas entered the school under false pretences on Tuesday, as one of its representatives pretended to be a relative of learners to be collected from the school.

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