A teacher at South African school, Laerskool Schweizer Reneke, took this photo and shared it with parents on WhatsApp in an effort to reassure them that their children’s first day of school was going smoothly. However, the teacher did not have the intended outcome as the photo revealed a detail that was unexpected. The students were separated by race in the classroom.
Students at Laerskool Schweizer were sent back home after South Africa’s North West Education Department suspended the teacher,
Ellen Barkhuizen, who is suspected to have separated the children according to race at the school.
Barkhuizen is reported to have taken the photo of the separated children, which is circulating on social media and has gone viral.
According to TimesLive, when parents complained to the school, they were sent a different picture after the children’s break showing that they had been “moved to different seating spaces to ensure they were not separated according to race”.
BLACK PARENT REACTS
The school has been suspected of discrimination by parents for some time. One parent had this to say to SABC News.
“I have applied on time, but I was so surprised when they said they can’t accept my child, he is on the waiting list. So, I requested to see the list of the white people. They say there is no waiting list for the white people. That’s where I started to worry. Where are we going to take our kids because they are still young? We didn’t want our kids to go far because we are residents here. I came here in March. They told me I must come on the 1st of May. When I came they say I must bring the documents, I bring them. Eish mama, I feel pain.”
WHITE PARENTS REACT
Speaking to SowetanLIVE, some of the white parents said black parents who are not happy about how the school operates, must take their children to township schools.
If you are not happy here, take your child to another school, nobody is forcing you. Now they want to make this as if it is racism, everyone just wants to make white people racists. We are not racists, we just want what is best for our children,” said one parent.
“Blacks don’t put their children first, we put our children first, and their safety and education comes first. This is the only white-dominated school in this town. There are over 10 schools in the township. If they are not happy, let them take their children there,” said another parent.
After meeting school staff and education department officials,
North West education MEC Sello Lehari confirmed that the teacher in question had been suspended.
“As a government, we would like to condemn any form of racism, alleged or not, and we deeply regret this unfortunate incident taking place in our country 25 years into democracy,” said a spokesperson for the local government leader, Job Lekgoro.