While pleas from the community for the reinstatement of suspended principal Brian Isaacs continues, the South Peninsula High principal may now face dismissal by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). As a result, the manner in which the WCED has approached the matter has raised concerns about the treatment of principals and teachers by the department.
Isaacs, who has been employed as the principle of South Peninsula High for more than 30 years, was suspended by the WCED on charges of verbal and physical abuse and the refusal to accept the return of students whom he wished to have expelled. In addition, Isaacs, is being charged for the transgression of noise nuisance laws as a result of his “infamously loud school public address system.”
Riyaad Najaar, the principal at Spine Road High School and chairman of the Progressive Principals’ Association, said the recommendation of dismissal of Isaacs is indicative of the manner in which principals and teachers are treated if they criticise the department.
Najaar said that he hopes that this case does not set a precedent for the treatment of teachers and principals who are speaking their minds.
“This is a very sad day in the Western Cape, [since] a long-standing, forward thinking, and progressive principle, who has done so much to elevate the status of the WCED, has to end his career in such a manner.”
According to the department, Isaacs has flouted regulations, which are grounds for dismissal.
He further noted that while the process has been transparent, the recommendation for Isaacs’ dismissal is based on testimonies made by officials of the department and a student.
One testimony made by a WCED official cited that Isaacs was allegedly disrespectful when communicating with the official.
“The officials came without notice to deliver a notice of suspension, so obviously you as an individual will react to that,” Najaar noted.
A second testimony that was made by a learner, who Isaacs caught urinating on school property and who sprayed urine on other learners, alleges that Isaacs reacted unprofessionally when reprimanding him.
“We are extremely perturbed at the manner in which learners are getting away with such behaviour at school. There needs to be an indaba from all stakeholders to discuss how we are going to stop this kind of behaviour at schools.”
The Progressive Principals’ Association, therefore, asserts that the matter could have been dealt with in different manner since Isaacs remained worked tirelessly to improve the education within the Western Cape.“If you have one of your players, you first go to them with a ‘hand around the shoulder approach’ and see what hear their grievances are. But in this case, summonses and charges were just issued – we are speaking about a committed principal [who] deserved a different approach,” Najaar continued.
“If you have one of your players, you first go to them with a ‘hand around the shoulder approach’ and see what hear their grievances are. But in this case, summonses and charges were just issued – we are speaking about a committed principal [who] deserved a different approach,” Najaar continued.Najaar said that negotiations are currently taking place behind-the-scenes and that he is hopeful that “sanity” will prevail.
Najaar said that negotiations are currently taking place behind-the-scenes and that he is hopeful that “sanity” will prevail.