Cape pupils add voice against discrimination

Schoolgirls have been protesting against rules in schools that dictate what they should do with their natural hair.

The protests which began at Pretoria Girls High School then spread to Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth have sparked a national debate.

Now Western Cape school learners at Sans Souci Girls High School are opening up about teachers conducting hair tests on black pupils and verbal insults.

EWN's Monique Mortlock says they have received numerous stories of racist and discriminatory practices by teachers at the school towards black learners.

Pupils say it is not only the hair issue but the language policy as well. They say they are prevented from speaking any languages other than English and Afrikaans, even during break time.

Former 2014 head girl Nicole Jones, told Mortlock she had felt uncomfortable enforcing these strict rules and issuing de-merits and detentions.

One learner described how a teacher had conducted a hair test on her without her permission, pulling her afro down to see if it touched her shoulders. She was then told to "tie the bush up with whatever means she could", reports Mortlock.

Another pupil said that a teacher had called black girls gorillas referring to a noise they were making during assembly.

Mortlock says the school principal Charmaine Murray has not yet had an opportunity to respond as she was in meetings.

The Education department sent a circuit manager to Sans Souci on Wednesday to assess the allegations.

The school has allegedly agreed to change the code of conduct according to what learners want, but it is also up to the School Governing Body to agree.

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