DF Malan learners welcomes probe by SAHRC
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DF Malan High School learners who claimed they were “threatened and intimidated” while celebrating Pride Month at the school on Monday have welcomed a probe into the incident by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
Speaking to the Cape Times, a pupil at the school said they were “thankful” that action was being taken.
“I am very thankful that they noticed and they realised how much needed it is, and how urgent it is that this needs to be addressed. I am so glad and excited, and hopefully they can tell the principal that what he is doing is borderline illegal and that even though he says we should not use the school as a platform for this, the school needs to be inclusive as it is a public school,” the pupil said.
A member of the Anti-GBV Movement SU who requested to remain anonymous said the investigation will assist the pupils get a voice that will be held even when they matriculate at the end of the year.
“It makes me so grateful that action has been taken and it also makes us very excited that there’s accountability. That it won’t be just another shallow statement released by the school, but it will be something binding that they can be held accountable to,” she said.
An online petition calling on the school to issue a public apology to the affected pupils has since been launched.
The petition which has over 15 000 signatures claims that the school’s principal prohibited further meetings of the LGBTQI+ community in the school.
SAHRC spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said they have received numerous complaints from the public on the incident.
“The Commission is investigating these complaints and will be calling an urgent meeting with the Principal of DF Malan High School and the Western Cape Department of Education to discuss these allegations and determine a way forward that is in the best interests of the learners of the school,” Brooks said.
According to a statement issued by the School Governing Body (SGB) on Monday, the principal decided not to grant the request for the Pride Month celebration, as it could lead to “tension and division” within the school.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) MEC Debbie Schäfer said an investigation on the allegations was under way.
“I am deeply concerned by the allegations of discrimination against LGBTQI+ learners at DF Malan High School, which we were alerted to yesterday (Wednesday). Such behaviour has absolutely no place in our schools. An investigation by the district is currently under way to establish the full facts of the matter, and we await the outcome thereof.
“We will work with the school to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. The WCED is committed to ensuring that our schools are inclusive spaces, where values of equality and non-discrimination are upheld. We expect our schools to take active steps to promote such an environment,” she said.