NEWS

Parents At St John's Have Been Trying To Raise Alarm Bells About Other Racist Incidents

It emerged after headteacher Paul Edey apologised to Wits professor and parent Sarah Nuttall for dragging her into the racism row.

31/07/2017 15:03 SAST | Updated 31/07/2017 15:25 SAST
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St John's College headmaster Paul Edey has apologised to Wits professor Sarah Nuttall for "completely and inappropriately invoking her name" in an interview with radio station 702 about the racist actions of a teacher.

"I apologise to Professor Nuttall and on her behalf to all of you for this complete mischaracterisation of her role in attempting to build an anti-racism agenda at St John's College" he said in a letter.

He said Nuttall, the highly respected director of the Wits Institute For Social And Economic Research (Wiser), had nothing to do with the case surrounding Keith Arlow, the St John's College geography teacher who was found guilty of misconduct after making racist comments to South African black, Indian and Greek students, as well as foreign students.

Edey spoke to 702 presenter Bongani Bingwa about the reasons why Arlow was not fired despite being found guilty of misconduct. He said the school had been engaging with Nuttall to begin conversations around transformation and diversifying the school.

"The truth is that Professor Nuttall had nothing whatsoever to do with the case surrounding Mr Arlow and his racist behaviour. Professor Nuttall was never at any point informed of the case, nor the specifics of it, by this school," said Edey.

He revealed Nuttall, herself a parent at the school, had been raising alarm bells about other racist incidents at the school and together with other parents was trying to draft an anti-racism policy.

He continued: "She has, since October last year, been approaching a range of senior managers at the school to report incidents of racism she had encountered and to express her concern; to insist that we draw lessons from the student movements on University campuses and take racism very seriously; to ask for an anti-racism policy to be drafted, a policy she has been drafting over some months in her private capacity with several other parents..."

Edey goes on to say that an anti-racism office would now be established where complaints could be lodged. The school will also be hosting a discussion with parents on Wednesday night to further discuss issues relating to racism.

The #OpenStJohns movement has called for the removal of Edey and head of school council John Patricious. The group will be meeting with the school's management today to ask them to step down from their positions. The group of Old Johanians believe that it is time for new management to be appointed to lead the school and the current management cannot be trusted.

He was put on a final warning, but resigned from his position on Friday after Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi demanded that the school fire him.