The removal of the teacher accused of making racist comments to pupils at the Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt (DSK) has been welcomed.
The teacher is said to have told Grade 11 pupils on May 24 that black pupils would not succeed because of their skin colour.
An email from the Tamboerskloof school sent by Headmaster Alexander Kirmse said: “I confirm that the teacher is no longer employed with the German School.”
Aika Swai, a parent that deregistered her child during the winter break, says she is glad that pupils will feel safe and comfortable again.
“Some immediate reactions I witnessed after the headmaster’s announcement were relief, gladness, and hope. However, I think when facts are unknown, rumours and gossip flourish. To know whether the teacher (employment) was terminated, resigned or got a pay-out makes a difference to how the community finds closure. For some of us, the idea of a settlement that basically amounts to a paid vacation is difficult to stomach. Imagine having to work two or three jobs in order to be able to pay the school fees for just one child at this school, only to find out that a teacher stereotyped mothers who look like me as ‘prostitutes’ and fathers who look like my husband as ‘thugs’ when explaining why kids who look like my kid won’t succeed educationally – isn’t it ironic that such a teacher would be paid to leave? But like I said, nobody truly knows what happened and thus people will speculate. Nevertheless I am pleased with the immediate result of putting someone more competent in charge of teaching complex themes like black economic empowerment or Life Orientation,” she said.
Grade 11 student Zanele Mbulali said she was relieved the teacher is no longer with DSK and warned that racism would not be tolerated.
“I’m relieved she’s gone because having her around would make my school life and the lives of other students difficult because we’d have to be taught by her even if we didn’t like it. Just because she’s gone doesn’t mean the racism has ended. Racism must still be addressed appropriately so that each learner at the school feels safe and as if they belong. This entire situation with this teacher should serve as a wake-up call to racist students and teachers, allowing them to see the seriousness of racism and what can happen if one is racist. This, I believe, will teach many people that what they say or do has consequences and has an impact on others. Racism is a part of our South African history, and it is imperative that people educate themselves so that they do not find themselves in situations where they are racist.”