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By Citizen Reporter


‘Racist’ incident at Milnerton High School ‘taken out of context’, says principal

A fight that broke out between a black and a white pupil has snowballed into racist allegations, the principal said.

A fight over a bench that reportedly turned into a racist incident at Milnerton High School in the Western Cape has been taken out of context, the school’s principal says. 

In what Paul Besener describes as one of the “most diverse” schools in the country, with “37 home languages”, he recalled what took place to The Citizen, saying the incident was far from racist. 

Taken ‘out of context’

Besener said the fight over a bench involved two “mixed” groups. One black pupil allegedly beat a white pupil up, who “never responded” to the alleged beating. 

This, Besener said, was the “catalyst” brought to the teachers’ attention. 

Besener said he went to confront the pupils involved, at which point the black pupil allegedly knelt down in front of him and “apologised profusely”. 

“I made him stand up more than once.

“Then he went to the timeout room.” 

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Besener said the deputy principal of the school, who is in charge of enforcing the code of conduct, then called the pupils involved and all who witnessed the fight to an office.

Here the pupil was made to apologise again, which was said to have been done with “a bit of bravado”. 

“Whatever mistakes we make we acknowledge. We’re teachers. We just want the kids to do their best and enjoy their academic life. [Milnerton is] a harmonious place,” Bresener said. 

Weekend Argus reports parents were angry at the incident, which they allege has not been handled properly by the school. 

A source told the publication the incident caused tension within the school community, and that the black pupil in question had voiced his “anguish” with fellow pupils at an assembly last week. 

Investigation instituted 

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond confirmed the incident, which she said was reported to Labour Relations. 

“An investigation is underway. The school dealt with the matter according to WCED policy and protocols.” 

Hammond said none of the pupils involved had been suspended, but that instead, a number of “discussions” between parties ensued, and “apologies” were made. 

“The parents of the two learners have also been informed of the processes that have been followed.” 

Besener said the WCED’s investigation will begin on Wednesday. 

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