Johannesburg - With four teachers set to be provisionally suspended this week for misconduct at Parktown Boys’ High School, one of these teachers has been implicated in hitting another child in his class.
Earlier this week, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the school again to announce the suspensions publicly. This comes after an external investigation into nine teachers accused of secondary victimisation of pupils involved in last year’s sexual abuse scandal.
Last year, it was revealed an assistant water polo coach had allegedly sexually assaulted pupils at the school, with the number of complainants rising to more than 30 in the past few months.
Teachers stood accused of making light of the sexual abuse in front of the victims, alongside allegations of racism and physical assault.
This week, Lesufi announced that he believed the external investigation had been scuppered by a “culture of silence” ingrained at the school among learners and teachers. “The culture of silence impeded the gathering of evidence,” he said this week.
He said four educators had been implicated in allegations of racism, two employed by the school governing body, the other two by the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE).
“The said educators will be on precautionary suspension from the school before the end of this week. A disciplinary hearing will be held at a later stage,” he said.
“There was an allegation that learners were smeared with deep heat on their private parts. No evidence was found, we strongly believe the culture of silence might have played a major role.”
Earlier this year, the Saturday Star revealed how one of the school’s teachers, Nik Muiznieks, had resigned from teaching after a racist, threatening rant directed at boys involved in the sexual abuse scandal. One of his colleagues, director of sport and maths literacy teacher Remo Murabito, was also charged with assaulting one of his pupils in class.
The pupil and his mother told the Saturday Star Murabito had slapped the child and stomped on his foot, prompting them to open the assault case against the teacher.
However, the Saturday Star has seen affidavits handed to police by other pupils in the same class, where Murabito is accused of teaching poorly and hitting another child.
The second pupil confirms the first’s story about being hit, then adds that he too was slapped in the face by Murabito when acting out in his class.
A third pupil accuses Murabito of “not teaching” during their classes, with a fourth pupil also corroborating this.
At the time of the initial article on the first assault, Murabito admitted to the incident through the school’s crisis management public relations agency, Vuma Reputation Management.
However, when asked for comment this time, the agency directed queries to the GDE and SGB. The GDE did not comment on the new allegations, confirming only that Murabito was one of the four teachers suspended.
SGB head Jim Pooley said he was deeply concerned to hear of the alleged incident.
However, he said the school had not had sight of the affidavit provided by the pupil to the police.
The Saturday Star has opted to not hand over the affidavit to the SGB, to protect the pupils’ identities as well as to not risk jeapardising the police investigation.
Meanwhile, Lesufi implored learners to break the culture of silence, speak out against any violation and report cases without any fear of being victimised.
“Any person who wants to tarnish the image of the school will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.