1,000 signatures reached
To: MECs of Education in all 9 Provinces of South Africa
Fix Our Schools' Code of Conduct
We, the undersigned, call on you to commit to reviewing the codes of conducts of schools in your respective provinces to ensure that:
- They adhere to the guidelines set out in the schools act;
- Are not discriminatory in any way nor arbitrarily implemented and
- Are made with wider consultation of stakeholders, beyond SGBs and including learners.
Black children should not have to be fighting to assert their humanity in spaces meant to educate, nourish and protect them. It is imperative therefore to work to ensure that they do not carry the burden of both adults who have failed them and those who refuse to see their humanity.
Why is this important?
Over the last few weeks, we have heard of Black learners at different schools across Mzansi being subjected to having swimming caps put over their heads to determine whether their hair is "neat"; receiving demerits for speaking in their native languages and being told their natural hair is "untidy". This is a result of both the abuse of process in the form of code of conducts to discriminate and exclude, as well as the arbitrary implementation of these codes.
This is happening despite the fact that the South African government has guidelines for the consideration of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) when developing code of conducts.
You see the South African Schools Act states the "main focus of the Code of Conduct must be positive discipline; it must not be punitive and punishment oriented but facilitate constructive learning" and that it is done in consultation with "parents, learners, educators, and non-educators at that school" . This is to ensure that process includes as many stakeholders as possible, including the learners who will be required to adhere to the code of conduct. Also to ensure that it is not used to discriminate and exclude, both through its content and arbitrary implementation, but rather contribute towards learning and development.
Our education system, like many other South African systems, continues to suffer from colonial hangovers perpetuated by those who want to continue to use our schools as a means of maintaining the status quo. As learners from different parts of the country demand an end to this, lets stand in solidarity with them and make sure that our leaders know this is a key issue, and we won't stop until they ensure that the schools in their respective provinces adhere to these guidelines.