As Parktown Boys High School continues to deal with the aftermath of last year’s abuse scandal, a teacher has resigned after a racist, threatening rant in front of his class while another has been charged with assaulting a pupil.
Last year it was revealed more than a dozen pupils had come forward with claims they had been abused or raped by an assistant water polo coach and the number of pupils has since risen to 31.
However, after the coach was criminally charged last year, claims of secondary victimisation of these pupils by teachers at the school have led to a Gauteng Department of Education investigation.
Nine teachers at the school were accused of making light of the scandal during classes, making inappropriate comments directly to victims and perpetuating a “culture of silence” that discouraged and even prevented other abused teenagers from coming forward.
Over the past two weeks, two of the teachers under investigation have again landed in hot water.
The Saturday Star is in possession of a purported recording of art teacher Nik Muiznieks labelling the pupils who came forward about the victimisation as “snitches” and “evil”. In his 45-minute rant, Muiznieks threatens to blow up the boarding house where some of the alleged victims reside, chop off their heads, and then calls an Indian pupil “Isis” and asks him where he can buy explosives. His rant, littered with swear words, also addresses one of the victims of abuse in the class, telling him not to be offended. “Some Parktown Boys are monkeys and this is not a racial statement there is black monkeys and white monkeys,” he says in the recording.
Meanwhile, The Saturday Star was approached by the mother of a teenager who laid assault charges against maths literacy teacher and director of sports, Remo Murabito.
The teacher has also been accused of having hired the water polo coach who allegedly sexually abused the pupils, despite knowing of a drug-related criminal charge against him.
The pupil claims he was attacked by Murabito in a maths literacy class for behaving badly. Murabito allegedly stomped on the teenager’s foot before slapping him, and then berated him by shouting: “You are the problem in my class, you are a nuisance in my life.”
The mother of the pupil showed the Saturday Star a message allegedly from Murabito admitting to the incident, saying he would co-operate with authorities after the charge of assault was laid.
Concerned parents of some of the victims of the sexual assault have told the Saturday Star they are appalled by the behaviour of the teachers.
“After the boys came forward, they should have been protected. Instead, they are being abused again by the teachers. What is going on at this school?” a parent said.
District director for schools in Johannesburg East Mnyamezeli Ndevu, said he had met with acting principal Kevin Stippel about the incidents. He confirmed Muiznieks had been given the opportunity to resign, which he had accepted. However, because Murabito is technically employed by the department of education, and not the school’s governing body, it would be up to the department to deal with the allegations against him.
He said the school had now set up security cameras on campus, and an app to report abuse had now been launched among the pupils.
He said a new principal had been hired to fill the vacant position, and would start in April.
Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed Muizniek’s departure, saying both parties agreed to a mutual separation following a disciplinary hearing.
Regarding the claims of Murabito’s assault, Mabona said: “We can confirm that the matter was reported to the department on March 16 and investigations are currently under way, the outcome will be communicated once the investigations are concluded.”
Meanwhile, the report into the secondary victimisation claims, compiled by law firm, Fasken Martineau after an in-depth investigation, has been completed.
“The MEC (of Gauteng Education, Panyaza Lesufi) is studying the report and will convene a meeting with the school in the second term to release the results,” Mabona said.
Muiznieks did not wish to comment, while Murabito responded: “I deeply apologise ... to the learner and his parents. As a school, we believe in high standards of conduct. We believe in working together ... to heal, being accountable for our actions and learning together so we can move forward.”