In a decision which is so wrong in so many ways, which reeks of bullying, and which carries an air of old National Party kragdadigheid about it, Heathfield High School principal Wesley Neumann has been sacked.
The verdict was emailed to Neumann by the presiding officer, Mrs P Rautenbach this week – and in reaching her decision, she brushed aside a call by a long list of top educationists in the Western and Eastern Cape to drop the charges and to allow him to take up his post at the school once more.
In my opinion, it is a disgraceful act on the part of the Western Cape Education Department, which is headed by MEC Debbie Schäfer.
It is no secret that Schäfer sits on the right wing of the province’s governing party, the DA, a party which is moving ever further to the right, with every passing week.
Neumann made the letter that informed him of his dismissal available to the media.
Rautenbach wrote: ‘When reviewing all charges cumulative and the relevant authority regarding dismissal, the presiding officer finds that dismissal would be the only reasonable and appropriate sanction.
The risk of further instances of misconduct in the future is high.
‘Moreover, it is clear that the relationship of trust had been severed beyond repair.
‘Mr Neumann is, therefore, dismissed.’
It is a letter filled with arrogance.
And it is utter rubbish
Neumann was slapped with six charges by a belligerent department after he refused to reopen the school that had been shut after Covid-19 had swept through the City. He had opted for this course of action following representations from fearful parents.
His disciplinary hearing, in which he was widely supported by parents, teachers and learners, ran for 25 days.
But all their arguments and protests were ignored.
And yet, those who have watched the actions of the DA, and those who represent it, will not be surprised.
These days, the DA is run by office-bearers who openly speak the language of Republican America: of being anti-woke. They are also rabidly opposed to what they also refer to in American terms: ‘critical race theory’.
Being ‘woke’ is nothing more than being anti-racist.
And Critical Race Theory is an intellectual and social movement based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings, but a culturally invented category used to oppress and exploit black people.
Both terms carry within it prospects that horrify the DA.
There are three things that teachers MUST do.
Protest the dismissal of Neumann. Don’t give up
Reject departmental bullying. Stand up against it wherever it occurs. Be united.
The second point is more personal: Use your vote wisely in the upcoming local government elections. Tell your family and friends to use their votes wisely too.
Our communities need principals and teachers who are brave and innovative, and who are aware of the challenges children in most township schools face. They must be prepared to do something about these.
Do it for Wesley Neumann….