NEWS

St John's College Movement Is Trying To Convince Senior Management To Resign

School embroiled in racism to hold management meeting.

31/07/2017 12:48 SAST | Updated 31/07/2017 14:54 SAST
Facebook

The #OpenStJohn's movement plans to meet with St. John's College management on Monday to convince headmaster Paul Edey and council chair John Patricious to step down.

The group of alumni expressed dissatisfaction of the handling of a case of a teacher found guilty of misconduct.

In an internal hearing last week, Geography teacher Keith Arlow was found guilty of racist remarks towards South African black, Indian, Greek and foreign students. He was given a final written warning but remained by the school. This caused public outrage as many believed that Arlow got a slap on the wrist for a serious offence.

Organisers of #OpenStJohns movement on Sunday night met with concerned parents, who spoke out about alleged mismanagement by the headmaster and chairperson. It said it showed racial tensions ran deep within the school.

"They must therefore step down so that space can be made for leadership that understands the role of leading a school in 2017 and educating learners to be responsible citizens and members of society," the group said in a statement on Monday.

Last week, Arlow resigned from his position after Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi approached the school with strict orders for Arlow's dismissal.

"Nothing that will keep the teacher here will satisfy me. There can't be someone who has been found guilty of racism roaming around in the school," Panyaza said.

However, the #OpenStJohns group said the teacher's resignation was not sufficient and that Edey and Patricious be held accountable.

The group claimed it had been given the run around regarding the time of the meeting but presume it would take place around 1pm.

The school has since apologised.

#OpenStJohns has urged the school to have systems in place to deal with similar matters in future.

"Going forward, the college must put systems and procedures in place to ensure that such serious matters never happens again, but should it happen it must be dealt with in a transparent and procedurally correct manner."

Arlow is alleged to have:

  • Told a black learner who received high marks in a test, "You disappointed the blacks by getting a good mark";
  • Told black learners in his class that the only reason they were getting good marks is because they sat next to white learners;
  • Told a black scholarship learner who got a good mark, "Well done, you've started thinking like a white boy";
  • Called Indian learners "Nawab", a term used to describe native governors during the Mogul Empire. It is used as a term for Muslim nobles or a person of high status. Not all Indians at the school are Muslim;
  • Admitted publicly to disliking learners in the sixth form because there are too many foreigners in that grade and called foreign nationals "aliens";
  • Told a learner he was "dirty" because he is Greek;
  • Told Indian learners in his class they were all going to be Golf GTIs because they are Indian, and then laughed; and
  • Claimed the geography teachers at a dinner were bus drivers because they were black and so should not be served.