The WCED removed a father figure from our school, says Heathfield High learner

In an emotional address, Heathfield High School principal bids farewell to learners and staff. Neumann served as principal since 2018. Picture: Supplied

In an emotional address, Heathfield High School principal bids farewell to learners and staff. Neumann served as principal since 2018. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 7, 2022


I’ve been a student at HHS (Heathfield High School) since 2018 and a happy student indeed. I loved being a student at HHS as it gave us reason to look forward to attending school on a daily basis, e.g., the mini-world, triathlons, excursions, etc. Those were activities we looked forward to and which made it exciting.

To cut a long story short, we are all aware of the reason our principal has been unfairly dismissed. I firmly believe the havoc which has transpired within our school revolves around Mr (Wesley) Neumann’s dismissal.

Within my five years of attending HHS we had some fights, but it was always first priority for Mr Neumann to sort it out. There have never been ongoing fights or uncontrollable mischievous behaviour daily, the way it has been these past few months. Every school has brawls, no school is perfect. Mr Neumann looked out for us students’ education, safety and health during Covid.

When our school had or faced racial or gang-related fights, he risked himself by calming students and had it stopped for the day. On these occasions, Mr Neumann would request law enforcement to patrol at dismissal times for our safety, and not because he couldn’t handle it nor expected us students to be treated as criminals, like we have been treated these past few weeks.

Many say we shouldn’t blame these activities on Mr Neumann’s dismissal, but that is when everything started becoming unpleasant and out of hand. T

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) removed a “father figure” from many children at HHS. Our school had been upgraded since Mr Neumann became principal and fought for rights, our rights!

I can go on at length about the good of our principal.

With all due respect, I don’t even know the two replacement principals’ names as they never introduced themselves. I don’t think they are serving any purpose at our school – they show no interest in the learners, have no interaction and we are lucky to see them maybe twice a week.

With the call for law enforcement to patrol and search us, the way it was stated in the school’s newsletter was FALSE. I am one of the students that was abruptly approached by a male law official to be searched on an open field and I refused.

On Tuesday, 30 law enforcement officers were present at Heathfield High School to prevent any drugs or dangerous weapons being brought on to the premises. Picture: Shakirah Thebus/Cape Argus

I was then told I’m “sterk gevriet” and escorted to the office at school. With this came a threat from the official, stating “ons sal jou op die pad kry”.

I handed over what was on me, but they refused to take it. Is this how public servants are trained – to manhandle students and expect us to respect them? It’s sad the way we are all labelled and yet there are students just wanting to have a normal school day by being taught. I’m one of them.

Deal with the disruptive students who are caught in the act or found with illegal objects. It’s a risk every day attending school after the dismissal of Mr Neumann because I don’t know what to expect. When it is dismissal time, I rush to leave school in case anything happens.

If the WCED really cared for the students of HHS, why is it so hard to hear our cries?

Give our principal another chance as there are principals from surrounding schools who themselves steal from school finances, teachers discriminating against learners, and they just get suspended!

As I am about to end off, I hope speaking out won’t be held against us students for expressing our views.

WCED, wake up! Stop wasting taxpayers’ money on paying unproductive ‘principals’ and reinstate OUR PRINCIPAL, Mr Neumann, who produced and worked for his earnings.

* Concerned Student, Heathfield High School.

** ** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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