[WATCH] Rules must fall



September 5, 2016
[WATCH] Rules must fall

REQUEST: Sans Souci learners to hand memorandum to WCED. CREDIT: Bertram Malgas

Deadline for school rules set.

A schoolgirl protest over outdated hairstyle rules and alleged racial discrimination has led to intervention from authorities.

Sans Souci Girls’ High School has until the end of this month to rewrite their code of conduct.

School principal, Charmaine Murray, will not report for duty today following calls for her to be sacked, while the Western Cape Education Department will meet learners tonight to accept a memorandum of demands.

WCED representatives met with learners from the Newlands on Friday after a three-day protest.

Learners say they’re punished for speaking Xhosa at school and the hair policy discriminates against black learners.

Last week learners also spoke out against the school’s merit books, which they called “dompas”.

On Friday, former and current learners gathered outside Newlands swimming pool, with girls from neighbouring schools like Westerford, Claremont and Groote Schuur showing support while cops monitored the situation.

The Weekend Argus reports that protesters held placards saying: “I am an African original” and “Our language is who we are”.

Former learner and convener of the #thetruthwewillproclaim movement, Billy-Jean Demas, says the meisies asked them to join the fight for equality.

“The former learners went through the same things,” she says.

“We laid complaints to teachers and reported matters but nothing was done. When you spoke out against something it was seen as you going against the school rules.”

Billy-Jean says the “draconian” merit book only allows five toilet visits during class per year.

Murray reportedly asked for a police escort as she felt threatened by learners.

MEC Debbie Schaffer, who met with the learners, staff and parents on Friday, says: “The learners requested that I meet with them on Monday evening to receive the memorandum of grievances.

“I also acknowledge the fact that many learners fear being victimised as a result of their action [last] week.

“In the light of this, it was decided that the principal will not report to the school [today] and that the school circuit manager, Ms [Amanda] Engelbrecht, will be at the school to provide support and ensure that there is no victimisation.”

The current code of conduct does not allow “exotic hairstyles”, afros, weaves, extensions, dreadlocks, wigs or twisting.

Schaffer adds: “The learners asked whether, on Monday, they could wear braids. My response was that I see nothing wrong with braids as long as their hair is neat and tidy.”

“I want to see a new Code of Conduct by the end of September 2016, adopted by the governing body after an inclusive process has been followed.”

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