Gauteng education probe after school allegedly suspends pupil 'for speaking out about racism'

The Gauteng education department has launched an investigation into the suspension of a pupil following claims of racism.

The pupil from Roosevelt High School in Randburg, Johannesburg was suspended on 27 August and faced charges related to racism.

However, according to her attorney Mahlatse Gwebu, it was the pupil who was speaking out about racism when she was suspended.

Gwebu claimed the pupil retweeted a tweet about racism at the school, asking for help with the matter.

He added that the pupil, along with other pupils, had previously sent an email to the management of the school asking to have a sit down to address issues at the school which included racism.

The meeting happened and the grievances were noted.


Thereafter, the pupil took to Twitter.

She was allegedly subsequently charged with engaging in a conspiracy to disrupt the proper functioning of the school through collective action and insulting the dignity of or defaming any pupil or any person, which included racist remarks, said Gwebu.

It's unknown what racist remarks were allegedly made by the pupil, or what issues of racism the pupil was allegedly speaking out about.

Department spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed that the pupil was suspended and said the disciplinary hearing scheduled for 15 September had been postponed indefinitely.

"We have since launched an investigation surrounding circumstances on this matter," Mabona said.

"Our officials will, tomorrow, 16 September 2020, visit the school to establish facts around this case, including racism allegations attributed to the said learner… we cannot ignore such serious allegations and as such the investigation must assist in this regard."

Mabona added that the pupil would be allowed to continue with attending school and would be writing exams.

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