Teacher in hot water over alleged ’rape culture’ remarks involving pupil’s dress
Johannesburg – The Gauteng Department of Education has temporarily removed a Brackendowns High teacher from her position over allegations that she made inappropriate comments to a female pupil about her dress.
The department had to swiftly make the decision after parents and pupils protested at the Alberton school on Wednesday morning as they felt that nothing was being done about the matter.
According to the department’s Steve Mabona, the teacher, who is also the deputy principal, will not be at the school and will be reporting to the district office while the matter is being investigated.
The incident is believed to have happened on Friday during “civies” at the school when the pupil was allegedly wearing a dress that shows her breasts.
The teacher is alleged to have said about the pupil: “The manner in which she is dressed... should something happen to her, it would be her own fault.”
Later in the afternoon an attempt by other teachers and pupils to address the remarks went south when the teacher stood by her words and continued: “If you are dressed inappropriately, you make it difficult for boys not to look. If you are showing something and somebody looks at what you are showing, the person who’s doing the looking doesn’t have a problem because you are showing.”
The parents of the pupil said they were appalled by the teachers’s utterances as they had not only sexualised their daughter but also traumatised her.
“That effectively perpetuates rape culture and victim blaming. There words were uttered by an individual who is supposed to be in a position of leadership and loco parentis when pupils are at school,” they said.
Mabona said the matter was reported to the district on Monday and the school involved the Department of Labour on Tuesday.
He said the matter was still being dealt with at the school level when parents and pupils embarked on a peaceful protest on Wednesday.
He said it was after they removed the teacher and addressed the pupils, classes resumed.
“We are very disappointed that such disturbing utterances could be attributed to a female educator.
“A school environment should be conducive to teach learners more so to uphold values.
“We know what gender-based-violence has done and continue to do to our women and children. Hence it is unfortunate that, such an incident allegedly occurred in our space. We wish to sincerely apologise to the school community at large about this regrettable incident.
“Our officials met with the school and concerned parents, and assured them on action to be taken.
“The implicated educator was precautionary removed from the school and will with immediate effect report to the District office.
“We can confirm that an investigation has been launched and a preliminary report will be shared with parents on Friday, 11 September 2020 and it is anticipated that, the mater will be finalised before the end of September 2020,” he said
Mabona also said they will be offering counselling to all affected pupils.