File picture: African News Agency
File picture: African News Agency

Pupils submit list of grievances against Sans Souci Girls’ High

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Feb 25, 2021

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Cape Town – Sans Souci Girls’ High school is yet again under fire after pupils handed over a list of grievances to management yesterday regarding allegations of sexual harassment, body shaming and a dictatorial system.

A number of pupils were understood to have not attended classes yesterday morning and the Western Cape Education Department confirmed a meeting has been set up between the principal and student leaders to address their concerns today.

A Grade 12 pupil, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed the list was handed over yesterday.

"The memorandum is what we experience here at school. As a student, you can feel the quiet commotion but the problem is how do we address it? Classes did commence but the grievances were handed over to the principal this morning.”

A former pupil, who also asked to remain anonymous, said the allegations were not new.

“During our time at the school, we suffered the same. What the pupils did now is what has been going on for a very long time, and I am glad that it came to the media's attention.

“Knowing the school very well, they will deny everything. Some students have horrific stories to tell about the school,” the former pupil said.

Principal Ruschda O’Shea referred all questions to the Education Department.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond denied claims that the school had not addressed allegations of sexual harassment.

“A group of Grade 12’s have provided a list of grievances to the principal that was written last year. The principal has arranged for a meeting tomorrow with pupil representatives from each class to discuss their concerns. Since the list was done in 2020, she asked that they review it and resubmit any new issues.

“The actions by the Grade 12s yesterday came after a Grade 12 pupil was approached for allegedly not wearing appropriate attire to school.

’’The school had written to parents the week before asking that pupils wear appropriate clothing on days when ‘civvies’ are allowed – no short skirts, crop tops, etc,” said Hammond.

Hammond said the pupil was not body shamed.

“The same pupil had approached the school last year with regards to a comment a teacher had allegedly made. The SGB investigated the incident and there was no evidence to substantiate the claim.

’’The school had been in communication with the pupil’s father during this period. The RCL is represented on the SGB and does submit reports which are considered in SGB meetings,” she said.

She said pupils returned to class yesterday morning, and teaching and learning resumed.

ANC provincial spokesperson on education Khalid Sayed called on both the WCED and SGB to take full responsibility, and have the allegations investigated and exposed.

“Parents must also assist pupils to lay criminal charges where it is necessary for a formal probe. It is not the first time that serious matters and management slackness are averred,” said Sayed.

In 2019, the school made headlines after a teacher was caught on camera slapping a Grade 10 pupil in a heated confrontation.

In 2016, unrest also erupted at the school after a number of black pupils claimed Sans Souci’s rules did not accommodate their natural hair, and they were not allowed to speak their home languages.

Cape Times

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