JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and the School Governing Body (SGB) of Parktown Boys High School said on Friday that they had noted the various inaccurate media reports that educators accused of serious misconduct were still at the school.
In a statement the department said that they could confirm that immediate action was taken against four educators found to have allegedly committed misconduct in the form of racially inappropriate language, two were SGB employed educators, whilst two were employed by the department. The two SGB employees are no longer employed at the school.
"The two GDE employees were charged and attended a pre-hearing. The hearing was scheduled for the 30 May 2018 but could not proceed as the witnesses (the learners) were not present and their parents did not want their identity to be disclosed to the employees representative," the GDE said.
"Parents of the learners who were meant to testify brought forward allegations of victimisation of the learners and as a result, have refused to allow the learners to testify, the parents indicated that they are still consulting their lawyers. Parktown Boys High School and the SGB have no evidence of this alleged victimisation."
The department said letters of intention to transfer the two implicated educators to the district had been prepared.
"Upon receipt of the representation from the educators, the department will decide on the matter. Under normal circumstances, an educator facing disciplinary processes may be transferred if there is sufficient evidence of victimisation or interference with the witnesses as alleged in this case," the statement read.
"It is important that learners must be allowed to testify in a conducive environment so that they are afforded the opportunity to provide their evidence."
The department, Parktown Boys High School and the SGB said they would deal with all allegations that were brought forward without fear, favour or obstruction of any kind.
"The department is also aware of the criminal case against an Educator who allegedly slapped one of the learners in March. The educator is still at the school and is undergoing disciplinary process. The outcome will determine the action to be taken," the department said.
"Some of the parents also complained that they were not treated fairly during the investigation and the reviewed documents given to the [member of the executive council] MEC contain matters which go as far back as 1985 with the Water Polo incident which is a criminal also features strongly on documents."
The department said they had appointed a law firm to review the findings and would be conducting an independent review of all those matters raised at the school in general, not just the complaints raised by a group of concerned parents.
“The culture of silence cannot be condoned. This culture has had a severe impact on learners who have suffered tremendously. We will intensify our efforts to root out this culture of silence at the school,” said MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
The GDE added that subsequent to the inaccurate media reporting on those matters, Parktown Boys’ High and the SGB had received many queries from concerned parents of the actions of the small group of parents who were negatively affecting the morale and reputation of the school.
"The SGB are committed to working with all parties to ensure a positive outcome for all in this regard. The department is committed to seeing to it that the matter is concluded and resolved as speedily as possible," the department said.
"The department urges all involved parties to fully cooperate with investigations and processes that are currently underway, as we strive for a conducive learning and teaching environment at the school."
The department also announced the appointment of the new headmaster, Malcolm Williams.
African News Agency/ANA