"The free-floating poison of gender violence and xenophobia should not be allowed into our classrooms," writes Estelle Pfeiffer. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

In response to, "Congolese pupil hospitalised after classmates severely beat her in xenophobic attack":

Congratulations to the Argus and Marvin Charles for exposing the violence and xenophobia that have been allowed to go on unchecked all year in one of our Cape Town schools, resulting in one of the learners landing up in hospital.

Her crime?

She was responsible enough to be appointed class monitor, a position her xenophobic classmates felt should go only to a South African, not to a Congolese - a foreigner.

The school knew about the racism and bullying and chose to do nothing.

The class knew about the Enough is Enough campaign and the harm of gender violence, yet the boys joined in the attack on the learner and the teacher who came into the melee was simply told to let them finish the fight.

The free floating poison of gender violence and xenophobia should not be allowed into our classrooms.

The school is the ideal place for them to be taught about civics, about freedom, about common humanity, about the harm of gender violence and the evils of xenophobia.

Why did Salt River High allow all this to go unchecked?

Must schools avoid appointing “foreigners” as prefects or class monitors in case they land up in hospital?

The harm has been done. The learner is in hospital. Salt River High should now take action.

Nsemuila Ngonefi with her daughter, Donette Ngonefi, who is recovering in hospital after allegedly being beaten up by pupils in her class. Picture: Supplied

The school should teach the class about what our Constitution says, about South Africa belonging to all who live in it, about respecting the dignity of all, about equal rights of all.

The school should take the class to the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre for a workshop on name-calling, bullying and prejudice - they have already had an example as to where that leads.

The school should invite the Quaker Peace Centre to give them a workshop on bullying.

The school should ask the boys involved to stand up in assembly and apologise to all the girls for not being man enough to control their aggression and to promise not to lay a hand on a woman again.

And they should arrange a hospital visit to apologise for their xenophobia and gender violence.

* Estelle Pfeiffer, Sea Point.

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

Cape Argus