Hindu mother unhappy over light punishment to racist teacher in SA

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 19, 2013 01:07 hrs

Johannesburg: A three-month suspension without pay for a white South African school teacher who racially taunted an Indian child for three years has been described as lighter punishment by the victim's mother.

The child and his parents were not identified to protect their privacy, but the parents earlier went public in the media, accusing music teacher Sybil Jordaan of causing great trauma to their son.

The parents laid the charges in October last year after learning of the abuse that their child had reportedly suffered at the hands of the teacher.

Jordaan, who taunted the Hindu boy for the past three years over the red string worn around his wrist for religious reasons, faced disciplinary action from the Education Ministry.

She also faced a more serious charge of having repeatedly called the boy a "coolie", considered to be a highly derogatory term for South Africans of Indian origin.

The parents claimed that the principal of the school, who is Jordaan's husband, did not resolve the matter satisfactorily when they first complained to him in 2010 about the racial remarks made to the child.

Now the mother of the child has expressed unhappiness with the sentence meted out to Jordaan, claiming that when she returns to the school in three months' time, her child will have to face her again.

But Education Department spokesman Charles Phahlane allayed her fears, saying that the suspension was coupled with a final written warning in terms of which Jordaan would be dismissed if she was found guilty of the same offence again.

A few years ago, a South African Indian mother won a case after going to the Constitutional Court when her daughter's school refused to let her wear a nose ring for cultural reasons.

Married Hindu nurses also succeeded in another matter where their superiors disallowed them the right to wear the bindi on their foreheads.

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