A teaching student says he was left with a ‘broken heart’ after a school principal insulted him in front of everyone over his hairstyle.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and Stellenbosch University (SU) are now investigating Vredenburg Primary School, after the principal allegedly denied second-year education student William Sezoe an opportunity to observe a class because of his bleached hair.
The top of the 19-year-old’s short haircut is blonde.
Sezoe said he was required to start his compulsory class observation last Monday at the school of his choice for two weeks, as part of his module, reports the Cape Argus.
However, he says principal Andre Muller chased him away and repeatedly told him that he was not welcome in “his” school “with that kind of hair”, as he would set learners a bad example.
Sezoe says he left and reported to a local office of the provincial education department, where he found a long queue of people.
“I then decided to go home, but inside I was dying.
“He could have just spoken nicely, maybe call me to his office to address the situation, not to shout in front of learners, teachers and parents,” said Sezoe.
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the matter was referred to Labour Relations for further investigation.
“The district has submitted all documents acquired to Labour Relations.”
Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said they and their Faculty of Education were troubled to hear about the incident.
“The faculty has expressed its concerns about this matter to the principal and appealed for an urgent need to resolve the problem in a forward-looking manner,” said Viljoen.
He said a further meeting with the school would be held this week.