28/07/2017 12:29 SAST | Updated 28/07/2017 12:58 SAST

Lesufi: St. John's College, Headmaster Apologises For Handling Of Arlow's Racism

Lesufi expressed his “disappointment” and “irritation” about how Keith Arlow's situation was handled.

Mary-Ann Palmer/Gallo Images

The principal of St John's College Paul Edey has apologised, and admitted that he handled the matter in the wrong manner. There has been an apology from the school and the principal, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Friday.

Lesufi briefed journalists on Friday morning after meeting with the school. On Thursday, the Gauteng education department said "nothing below expulsion will be acceptable".

The school is due to respond to him by 1pm.

Lesufi expressed his "disappointment" and "irritation" about the manner in which Keith Arlow, a geography teacher at St. John's College, was found guilty of misconduct in an internal hearing about a racist campaign against South African black, Indian and Greek students, as well as foreign students. He has been given a final written warning but retained by the school.

"You don't respond to such a serious matter in [the] manner the school responded," he said.

Lesufi was referring to the fact that the school sent a public statement to the department instead of detailing how the matter unfolded.

"I felt like I was seriously undermined and then I notified the school that I would be meeting with them this morning [Friday]," he said.

"People want to justify racism, romanticise racism and sweep it under the carpet," he added. He was referring to the fact that the school wanted to handle the issue internally and through restorative justice.

Lesufi said the school has to fire Arlow because it would be the most suitable punishment for his offence. The MEC also said that Arlow should be reported to the South African Council of Educators.

The school initially wanted to be given 48 hours to respond to the department but, Lesufi said, due to the urgency of the matter he refused.