Rorisang Kgosana
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
2 Sep 2017
6:00 am

Parents wear the pants at Pretoria West High School

Rorisang Kgosana

The school’s pupils boycotted classes and protested last week, demanding to be allowed to wear skinny pants.

The entrance to Pretoria West Highschool is pictured where students were protesting against wearing baggy school pants, insisting they should wear skinnier pants, 28 August 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Following a unanimous vote by parents of Pretoria West High School pupils to keep the current uniform, one parent said he would not let his child sit in skinny pants the whole day and “deform his body”.

The school’s pupils boycotted classes and protested last week, demanding to be allowed to wear skinny pants, saying the baggy pants they have to wear made them look untidy.

The school governing body (SGB) called for a vote and parents unanimously opposed the proposed uniform change.

“The parents voted in favour of keeping the dress code.

“It was a unanimous vote,”said SGB chairperson Brian Zyster yesterday.

Parents said the uniform gave the children a “sense of belonging”, removed the pressure of having to decide what to wear and deterred bullies.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Citizen: “There was no way I was going to vote for my child to sit in skinny pants and have his whole body deformed for eight hours a day.

“He must be comfortable in what he wears at school.”

But some pupils were disappointed that their parents had not sided with them.

“I am disappointed because they don’t wear this uniform every day. As children, we thought they would back us,” one Grade 11 pupil said.

Officials from the Gauteng department of education visited the school earlier this week after the protest, which was instigated by two pupils who had breached the code of conduct pertaining to the uniform and were suspended for seven days.

The pair created a group on WhatsApp to mobilise their peers and persuaded other pupils to try to force the school to let them wear skinny pants, department spokesperson Steve Mabona said.

He commended the SGB for their swift intervention. Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he was satisfied with the parents’ decision.

“As parents, we must always take charge of our children’s behaviour and empower educators to instil the necessary discipline.

“The day we allow ill-discipline to prevail in our schools, we will all be doomed.

“Ill-discipline must not be tolerated in our schooling environment,” the MEC said. – rorisangk@citizen.co.za