Cape Town – The Western Cape provincial education department said it is engaging with Brackenfell High School regarding allegations that it has not had a black teacher work at the school in nearly a decade.
This while the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has demanded an apology for black pupils and parents at the school, who felt excluded when a privately-organised matric ball was only attended by white pupils.
The northern suburbs school landed in the spotlight this week when a parent took to social media to decry the matric ball, which was videoed showing only white pupils and their partners.
On the back of the incident, another pupil alleged that racism was rampant at the school, and that it has not employed a black teacher since 1994.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) Bronagh Hammond yesterday showed stats since 2011 that showed there were two coloured teachers currently working at the school, compared to 40 white teachers.
The one coloured teacher is employed in a WCED state paid post, while the other is a School Governing Body (SGB) post.
There are no statistics for black teachers on the WCED state paid post list at the school.
“The WCED has not had any previous complaints regarding alleged discrimination at the school this year. The district is engaging with the school on these allegations,” Hammond said.
Regarding the matric ball she said the department is aware that a private event which was not organised by the school was held.
Two teachers were invited to the event and attended as guests.
SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) provincial chairperson Jonavon Rustin said having diversity at the school was important and the school's transformation policy should be relooked at.
Of the allegedly exclusionary ball Rustin said it does not reflect well on school and parent community.
“It smacks of alleged racism within the school and polarises the school community, province and country, which will have disastrous effects going forward if not corrected.
“If we want to build a unified SA , such practices should be frowned upon and criticised. It needs to be corrected.”
Rustin demanded the ball organisers apologise to pupils who were excluded, and their parents.
When the Cape Times called the school they maintained that the event was organised by parents, as the school is not hosting an official one due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A parent on the organising committee who spoke on condition that she remain anonymous for the protection of her child, said the event was private and she and other parents of her daughter’s friends organised it.
She said their children invited who they wanted to.
“The whole thing was blown-up, it was never meant to be any of what they are saying, it just happened to be only white kids. My kids also have coloured friends, they invited their friends.
“I don’t understand why I must apologise for something I did not do wrong. It was not intended at all. I am sorry that they felt excluded, it was not meant that way,” the parent said.