THE first day of the school year hit a serious glitch at the troubled Roodepoort Primary School today when only two out of 17 black teachers pitched up for work.
Yesterday, provincial education MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced on the education department’s Twitter page: "At Roodepoort Primary, 15 teachers have announced they're not comfortable going back to the school, but we're engaging via unions."
One of the parents confirmed this morning that the 15 teachers had indeed stayed away, but added that she didn’t understand why they felt threatened.
"I really don’t understand, because nobody has any problems with them," the woman, who asked not to be named, told News24.
"There are two other black teachers who were at the school and they aren’t experiencing any problems.
All seemed calm outside the school, with parents and their children flocking to the school that made headlines last year when parents demanded the removal of the principal. The demand split the school along racial lines because the parents making the demand are coloured and the principal black.
By late morning, a few black parents stood outside the school after registering their children. They said everything had gone smoothly on the first day of school.
One of the parents said there would be a meeting later this week to discuss the new principal who would be appointed at the school.
Stand-in teachers had been appointed to cover for those who were absent.
As the bell rang for break, kids happily ran out onto the playground, with no sign of last year’s tensions which saw cops firing rubber bullets at protesters outside the school.
Parents had expressed their unhappiness with the principal and two deputy principals of the school, claiming corruption, but an investigation by the education department found no evidence of this.
After the school was closed in August 2015, the pupils were temporarily placed at other schools, upsetting parents who did not want to move their children to another school so late in the year.
On the day the school was closed, police tried to escort district officials off the premises, but parents blocked the way, saying they would not let them leave until the school was reopened.
Parents of coloured pupils denied their problems with the black prinicipal were race-related, insisting the protests were against corruption at the school.
Source : news24