Learners accuse Gauteng school of doing little to curb racism

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Some learners at Hoerskool Carletonville Callies on Gauteng’s West Rand have accused the school of doing little to curb racism.

On Thursday, a 17-year-old black learner was assaulted, allegedly by a white learner. The matriculant was hospitalised as a result.

It’s alleged she was beaten after asking the white learner to stop spraying perfume in class. The 17-year-old says she is scared to go to school following the incident.

She’s accused the school of doing little to support her and says teachers protected the white learner by saying that she was the one who started the fight.

There were no teachers in class when the alleged assault took place. The teenager, who has visible bruises on her face, says she battles to sleep at night.

“I’m hurt. I’m very hurt because no one is doing anything with this. I don’t feel like going to school anymore. I’m reluctant to go back to school again and see the same people again. I don’t feel right to meet the same teachers and the same kids.”

Her mother has appealed to the Gauteng Education Department to find another school for her child.

She says she has also written to department officials relaying her concerns and hopes to gets help.

“Truly speaking as a parent I don’t trust the school anymore and my appeal is my child to be removed from that school. I feel like my child is no longer safe and her health is no more important to them because I’m asking myself a question what if my child would no longer be the same in her studies. What if her mind is disturbed and is disabled.”

Other black learners who spoke to SABC News say they are often treated differently from their white counterparts.

“RCL girl she’s white. She dyed her hair purple my hair is gold. I was sent back home I didn’t attend classes the whole day. Her hair is purple but they left her the whole day with another girl with a pink hair,” says a learner.

“The guy that attacked the black girl once told me that he is racist and if I were to ever go to the school authorities he will win the case because of his colour. It’s really deep. We obviously don’t feel great about it. We tried a protest we got shut down. Dogs and security guards were put in place to stop us from whatever we were trying to do. They literally separated us. They didn’t want to hear anything from us. We were not even allowed to go to the toilet without a white RCL member.”

The Gauteng Department of Education says a team will be sent to the school to investigate the matter.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona has appealed to the learners to be open with department officials.

“It is important for learners when they probably make allegations; they need to come forward and corporate with the department. The MEC is pro-non-racialism, it is an issue for us and we take it very seriously. So those allegations must be investigated but we then call up on learners to work with us. Make sure that when we send our officials at the school they are willing to say this is happening. In all our schools we don’t need any racism.”

Meanwhile, police are investigating a case of assault.