South Africa’s Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found a public school guilty of hate speech toward black and mixed-race pupils.
Children at the school alleged staff members called them racist names, such as baboons and monkeys.
After an 18-month investigation, staff members and the head teacher were found to have exposed students to dehumanizing and racist treatment.
Representatives of Dr Viljoen Combined School told the BBC they would not “comment at this stage.”
They said they had not seen the report and would refer the matter to the school’s governing body.
Representatives of the Free State Department of Education, responsible for the school, say they will study the report and would hold their own investigation before taking any potential disciplinary action.
The SAHRC is an independent body set up after the end of white-minority rule in 1994 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses and hold public institutions accountable.
Frank and Open Discussion
Pupils at the school in Bloemfontein said teachers told them to go back to the black schools in the townships because their parents could not afford to pay school fees, and that they would never succeed in life and would end up like their parents who work in chain stores.
Such reports raise uncomfortable questions about transformation in former South African President Nelson Mandela’s rainbow nation, says the BBC‘s Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.
Many have called for a frank and open discussion about why racism and inequality still exist, the correspondent says.
The commission made various recommendations for the school and the Free State education department:
Both institutions should develop procedures for countering racism.
The school’s governing body should establish policies and guidelines to counter racism and submit them to the SAHRC for review within the next 12 months.
The school and department should increase teachers’ and pupils’ understanding of racism.
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