A campaign to have an outspoken school principal reinstated in his position is growing in momentum and a public meeting has been called for Tuesday evening to lobby for community support. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has suspended South Peninsula High School principal Brian Isaacs, after he was charged with misconduct and a string of other charges. As the matter is dealt with in court, supporters, including; educators, parents and former students are petitioning against Isaac’s suspension.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday night at 8pm in the school hall. Deputy principal of South Peninsula High, Zeid Baker, confirmed that a petition will be sent around to parents, and urged parents and community members to sign the petition.
Baker explained that numerous parents whose children “are ill disciplined” have approached the WCED regarding the disciplinary measures that Isaacs adopted. But he believes that the situation “could have been dealt with in a different manner.”
“The school has a reputation for excellence, even as a far as discipline is concerned, so it is very disappointing how the department dealt with the issue.”
He said the embattled principal viewed discipline as a “black and white issue”, with no middle ground. According to Parker, Isaacs has supported his staff in disciplining students.
“Brian is not going to back down as far as discipline is concerned.”
Baker who has been employed as a teacher at South Peninsula High for over 29 years has worked with Isaacs for a significant amount time. He said the vocal educator has been influential in developing many successful programs in the school.
He further conveyed frustration at the department’s portrayal of parents who, he asserts, “need to be enlightened” about issues involving their children that occur at school.
“We have had a case, last year, where a youngster had 100 transgressions and another had over 150 transgressions. The parents of the youngsters went to the department, who sided with the youngsters,” Baker explained.
He further notes that in this particular case, one of the matters was taken to court, and subsequently “thrown out by the magistrate”. The magistrate, he explained, disciplined the youngster and instructed the parents “to get their act together, because [the youngster] is going in the wrong direction.”
The school has been sound academically as 99 per cent of parents support the schools measures of discipline.
He further notes that Isaacs in his 30 years in education has challenged the department on various issues, inclusive of both national and local policies.
“Isaacs was quite vocal on the issue of outcome based education, and has [therefore] been a voice for teachers; and that is the reason why the department monitors what he says,” Baker asserted.
South Peninsula High is currently processing periodical examinations. The school, therefore, intends to maintain focus during this period.
“Mr Isaacs teachers two classes; I would like to know what the department is going to do about that,” Baker concluded.
VOC has requested a response from the Western Cape Education Department, but no response was furnished in time.
VOC (Thakira Desai)