Protesters call for principal’s reinstatement

Pupils held banners high as they sheltered from the downpour.

South Peninsula High School pupils, teachers, parents and school governing body members are appealing to education officials to reinstate Brian Isaacs immediately (“Principal to appeal suspension”, Bulletin, June 8).

On June 1, the outspoken principal was found guilty on two charges of disrespect or abusive or insolent behaviour towards officials and of giving false statements concerning his employer, in terms of the Employment of Educators’ Act.

Mr Isaacs is fighting both decisions and MEC of Education Debbie Schä-fer is considering his appeals.

While waiting for Ms Schäfer’s decision, he was told the presiding officer in a second disciplinary hearing against him had also recommended dismissal.

Wearing raincoats and sheltering beneath umbrellas, pupils, former principals, education activists and Mr Isaacs, walked from the Grand Parade to the offices of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).

“You have treated our school community with contempt; we are now demanding the immediate reinstatement of our principal, Brian Isaacs; the lifting of his suspension without substantive reasons since March 4, and the dropping of the vexatious disciplinary hearings against him,” said Enrico Marinus, the South Peninsula Community Support Committee’s chairman.

“Please be informed that you are invoking our anger as a community. You have failed us as a community.”

According to spokesman at the Western Cape Education Department Paddy Attwell, Mr Isaacs was found guilty on four charges, including assaulting a pupil; improper conduct by calling pupils “scum”; refusing to allow pupils to return to class for eight days; and failure to carry out a lawful instruction to ensure that pupils returned to class.

The officer imposed a sanction of demotion, alternatively dismissal if Mr Isaacs refused to agree to demotion. The presiding officer informed Mr Isaacs of the sanction on July 12 but he did not accept this and has appealed the sanction.

The case is unrelated to a separate matter involving Mr Isaacs currently before the Minister of Education on appeal.

A memorandum listing their grievances was handed over to Ms Schäfer’s spokesperson, Jessica Shel-ver who told the Bulletin she will bring the memorandum to the attention of the MEC. She added that the MEC is still considering the appeals seeking legal advice on all aspects.