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HomeNewsHeathfield High School tensions, strife continue

Heathfield High School tensions, strife continue

Cape Town - Concerns have been raised that Heathfield High School might take years to recover from educational losses due to ongoing disruptions, if a permanent solution was not found soon.

Teaching and learning had to be suspended on Wednesday following two days of what was described as a “volatile environment”.

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Alarming scenes at the school took place on Tuesday when pupils allegedly stoned law enforcement vehicles, after authorities were called by the school.

The officers conducted searches which the pupils were unhappy about, with illegal substances and weapons allegedly confiscated.

Two men who entered the school illegally, pretending to be pupils were arrested.

In a communique to parents the school announced the suspension of classes and that when they returned today, law enforcement officers would be deployed again.

“In the light of this, and in conjunction with our supervisors and teachers, parents are asked to keep their children at home on August 17. All staff will report on duty in order to do some reflection and forward planning. An adjusted school programme from Thursday to September 2 (will be followed),” the letter said.

The school is expected to conduct rotational learning however Grade 12s will attend classes everyday.

At the heart of the unhealthy school environment is the matter of former principal Wesley Neumann who was dismissed by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in May after he refused a demotion offer from the department.

This resulted from his refusal to reopen the school amid the Covid-19 infection peak in 2020.

The matter was supposed to be heard last month at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) but was postponed after the department challenged the jurisdiction of the bargaining council.

ANC MPL Mesuli Kama said the WCED had advised education MEC David Maynier to “drop all charges and immediately” reinstate Neumann.

“This is self orchestrated chaos by the WCED that is now negatively impacting learners due to the loss of valuable learning and teaching time. The rotational timetable is not a solution. The MEC and WCED must listen to the concerns of the school community.

“However, the ANC also notes with concern and condemns the reported elements of criminality as certain individuals who are not learners at the school were arrested in possession of illegal substances,” said Kama.

He called on law enforcement agencies at the school to continue with search and seizure operations to ensure safety at the school.

Special Action Committee spokesperson Brian Isaacs urged the department to call the Heathfield High School Governing Body, Representative Council of Learners (RCL) to a meeting to resolve all challenges.

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