Top school probes 'offensive, hurtful racist comments' on social media

The offensive comments were shared on social media. Stock photo.
The offensive comments were shared on social media. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/dimarik16

One of the country’s top state schools is investigating the origin of “offensive, hurtful racist comments” tagging its black pupils on social media. 

Westerford High School in Rondebosch, Cape Town, held a meeting with grade 8 pupils on Thursday to provide counselling to those affected or traumatised by the posts on Instagram. 

“The school is investigating the source of the post. It does not come from an official school account. It is unclear if the account was hacked or if it did originate from a learner at the school. The posts came from one source,” said Western Cape education department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond on Friday. 

“The school has condemned the comments and distanced itself from its content.” 

The school posted a notice on Instagram earlier this week, saying the posts were “linked to a grade 8 class that contain extremely offensive, hurtful racist comments.

“We are dealing with the matter with the highest urgency under our code of conduct. The class concerned has been e-mailed, instructing that the administrator close this Instagram account immediately — that is, of course, if the administrator is in that class. If the administrator is in the wider body of the school, then the instruction is the same,” said principal Mark Smith in the notice. 

“We are using every avenue to find the person/s responsible and then will follow the full disciplinary process.” 

Smith added the school condemned any discriminatory, racist comment or act and would “deal with such offences most severely” when they arose. 

Hammond said if the account was hacked, the school would need to consider what action can be taken against the perpetrator. If a pupil was involved, disciplinary action would be instituted.

“The school has reported it to the Film and Publication Board as well,” she added. 


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