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Louwville High learners say ‘no to racism’

Learners from Louwville High School in Vredenburg picketed outside the school premises on Thursday 2 May following allegations of racism and sexual harassment.

The predominantly black learners say they are tired of being treated differently from other learners, and will continue to “speak out until the culture changes.”

On Thursday the learners picketed outside the school with placards displaying their discontent while calling for the principal and deputy principal to step down.

In a memorandum of challenges and demands handed to the principal, learners complain that some of the educators are racist. They also state there is a lack of diversity among staff, and complained that toilets are locked during classes.

Learners who spoke to Weslander on the scene also alleged “inappropriate behaviour”, such as touching female learners “inappropriately”. They also say some educators call them k*ffirs.

The learners also complained some teachers sleep in class when they should be teaching.

One learner said: “We are suspended for minor issues, but if a coloured learner has the same mishap they do not get punished in the same way. We are not being treated equally.”

Learners also claim their language and culture are not respected.

The memorandum states: “Coloureds (learners) speak freely without being reprimanded, but when black students try to speak their mother tongue they are chased out of the class, and are said to be disrespectful.”

Manrich Carolus, chairperson of the school governing body (SGB), told Weslander the SGB held a meeting on Friday 3 May to discuss the matter, where it was decided an investigation would be launched into the allegations.

“The complaints of sexual harassment and racism are being investigated against teachers,” he said.

“Teachers are now talking to their lawyers about allegations,” he explained.

Carolus referred Weslander to Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for further comment.

WCED Circuit Manager Avril Daniels said that although some of the allegations from the learners has no substance, others will be “thoroughly investigated”.

“Investigating all the learners’ claims will take time,” he said.

“Some investigations can be handled at school level while some will be handled by the circuit office.”

Daniels urged the protesting learners to come forward to substantiate the claims made during the protest.

He added learners who have issues should firstly approach their school principal to resolve any problems.

“There are systems such as the student council, which also has representation on the governing body, in place to help give learners a voice if talking to the principal doesn’t solve the problem,” Daniels said.

Classes continued without incident this week.

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