A distraught father has accused Curro school in Klerksdorp, North West, of being racist after his son did not receive medical care when he fractured his finger while at school.
The father, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the Grade R pupil, said the school had not cooperated with him when he asked what had happened to his son last Friday.
“No one at the school is giving us clear answers. A transport [woman] who came to pick up my son after school found him crying. The school failed to notify me. Furthermore, it didn’t call an ambulance or administer first aid.”
He said his son was left alone after school, crying and in pain.
“I believe that the school cares less for black kids. If this was a white child, this would have been treated differently. My child has been subjected to the harshest form of treatment because of his skin colour,” the father said.
He said he had informed the school that he believed the bad the treatment of his son was racially motivated.
The family took their son to a doctor, who told them the boy’s pinky finger on his right hand was fractured.
The father reported the incident to the North West department of education and sport development.
According to responses from the department and Curro, on Friday last week a group of pupils at the school were playing together on the playground.
Some of the children were playing soccer and the pupil got injured and started crying. His teacher, who was on playground duty, approached him immediately and the pupil stated that he had hurt his hand.
The teacher could see that his finger was either dislocated or broken and she took him back to his classroom to obtain his emergency contact details.
The teacher telephoned his mother and the mother said that she would arrange for transport to collect her son and take him to the doctor.
Curro spokesperson Mari Lategan said that, unfortunately, the transport was delayed.
“The school’s staff cannot administer medication or take a pupil to hospital without his or her parent’s consent. As part of its policy, the school retains a medical file on each of the pupils and this pupil has a particular medical history that needed to be considered.”
Lategan said the school was in “constant and regular communication” with the pupil and his guardian, in accordance with Curro’s internal policies and procedures.
She said the pupil’s mother and guardian were happy with the process being followed by the school.
With regard to allegations made by the father, Lategan said the father expressed his dissatisfaction with the process that was followed and stated that the matter would have been handled differently if a white pupil had been injured.
“This is vehemently denied. All Curro schools have the same procedures that are followed if a pupil is injured, and all pupils are treated in terms of this procedure without exception or deviation. The father drew inferences that are not supported by fact and, in doing so, he breached Curro’s code of conduct, which specifically deals with racism.”
Lategan said Curro welcomed all comments that were constructive and contributed to discussions in a meaningful manner.
“We do not condone discrimination or racism in any form whatsoever,” she said.
She said the school was scheduled to meet with the father on Friday to address his comments and concerns.
North West department of education and sport development spokesperson Freddy Sepeng confirmed that a report had been filed with the department.
Sepeng said there has been no indication of racial injustice recorded in this instance or in the past.
“In as much as Curro, an independent school, is at liberty to follow its own values, missions and administration of its policies, the province has a limited responsibility of monitoring independent schools that are registered with it, in line with the South African Constitution, which clearly states that the institution is registered and does not discriminate on the basis of race.
“The department wishes to assure the school community that pupils are treated with respect, dignity and care, and it continues to monitor schools. We wish our pupil a speedy recovery,” Sepeng said.