MUST READ: Northriding school and parent butt heads over ‘black baboon’ allegations

PLG North Riding Academy is adamant that they protect children against suspected bullying and racism in the school.

This follows allegations made against the school by a mother who claimed that her child was bullied and racially abused at the school by a classmate.

Pulane, whose surname has been withheld to protect the identity of the child, accused her child’s classmate of bullying and calling him a ‘black baboon’.

She said her child was bullied on a class WhatsApp group which was allegedly started by the class teacher.

“I am currently looking for another school since my son cannot be there anymore,” the mother said.

Pulane claimed that a voice note was sent to the group by one of the other schoolchildren referring to her child as a ‘black baboon’. She further claimed that this was not an isolated incident, but rather one that continued in the classroom.

The school vehemently refutes the claims and said that Pulane did not want the problem to be solved but instead dropped a bombshell on them. The school further claimed that the voice note in question was never aimed at Pulane’s son, but rather at another child on the group.

The school indicated that the mother waited for several weeks before she brought the problem to their attention and simply did not want it to be solved.

Principal Andries van der Heever said Pulane was assured multiple times that the school would investigate the incident and take appropriate action.

“She was offered the opportunity for a meeting which she declined. She stated that nothing would change her mind,” Van der Heever said.

He said the dissing and name-calling was done in class and not on the WhatsApp group, which has since been deleted. Neither the mother nor the school could show Randburg Sun evidence of the so-called racist name-calling. Randburg Sun was also not permitted to view the chat group or to interview the children involved.

The school investigated the incident and according to Van der Heever, some of the schoolchildren admitted that they gave nicknames to each other in class as well as to their teachers.

“I had private conversations with the learners and two of the girls implicated the complainant as the one ‘dissing’ the others and swearing at the girls in the class.”

The school also alleged that the mother verbally abused some of the children on the playground.

According to a letter by one of the children, written to the principal during his investigation, the mother threatened to kill them. “This was confirmed by traumatised Grade Rs and Grade 1s who overheard the attack which occurred right in front of their classes,” he said.

He also stated that the claim was corroborated by six other schoolchildren in writing. Randburg Sun was only permitted to view one of these letters.

“We have an open door policy at the school and encourage all parents, students and staff to advise if there are any concerns or positive feedback that the school needs to be aware of.”

Phathu Luvhengo

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