A heartbroken mother has penned a letter to the Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke teacher after she was accused of racism.
Social media was abuzz after a photo went viral of the alleged 'segregation' of black and white pupils in a North West grade R class.
The incident sparked outrage and the teacher has since been suspended. Opposing party visited the school and parents were forced to fetch their 'traumatised' children. Since then, a mother has written a heartbreaking letter to the teacher in question.
Take a look at the letter below: (Please be advised, the letter was translated since it was originally written in Afrikaans)
My dear friend,
I am the mother, who has for the past three years, dropped off a first day grade R learner at your class. I am going to be honest, the first time- in January 2017, it was really difficult, I cried like any other mom of a little girl would do.
I was sad and afraid, not knowing what to expect of the so-called ‘big school’. However, come January 2018, I was all smiles because I knew in whose hands I was placing my child. Then again, the day of 9 January 2019, absolute happiness, until a bomb dropped.
I got to know you as an exceptional teacher in 2013, someone who is strong and full of love. A teacher who gave 210% of herself for other people’s children. White, brown and black children. Every year, there are pupils who do not understand one word Afrikaans or English, yet they were welcomed with open arms. In your class, in you daily routine and in your life.
They became your own children. You knew exactly which schoolbag, jacket, lunchbox and socks belonged to who. I have never met a more organized person than you. Elana, how many times did you not buy food for kids, regardless of race, just because their mommies forgot to pack them lunch? I know, I was there. Elana, how many nights did you sit and plan out lessons to accommodate the kids who were still learning the language? I know, I was sometimes there.
Elana, how many hugs did you give out to white, brown and black kids, just because they are children…I witness that each day! Every child, regardless of background, race or gender, is always treated with love, every kid has a special place in your heart. They become your kids, something every teacher understands.
As a parent, who stands behind you, I’m aware about what goes on in the Schweizer-Reneke’s grade R class, I don’t speculate. I see it and I have facts. Little girls do not beat around the bush, they speak the truth. Out of the mouth of a child: “I am not going to school anymore if my teacher is not going to be there.”
To the parent who made such a scene, you have no idea how your actions effected a brilliant teacher. You don’t know how I felt having to go look for my grade two daughter today. You have no idea…you endangered 300 kids’ lives and 22 teachers’ lives would never be the same again. Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke will never be the same again.
We now loathe to send our kids to our once beloved second home. Men with red shirts and black hats tried to climb over palisades and harm our kids. A man with a khaki shirt will never climb over your child’s school fence to harm them. Never will they burn your child’s school down. You have no idea.
Today was also chaotic… moms cried, kids sobbed, and children were left traumatized. The school was swamped with journalists and cameras, everywhere! All gates were blocked through people with intent to cause harm, but, that was not shown on the news. Parents could not enter or exit the entrances. How can we let our kids go to school again with a peace of mind? You, the one who caused a scene, are guilty today because of your own uncertainties- not Miss Elana Barkhuizen.
Do you have any idea how long I was up last night, looking and blocking photos of my child on social media? No, you don’t! You have no idea through what you put every parent yesterday.
Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke has fantastic learners, because they have outstanding teachers. Teachers who teach in every sense of the word. Not just a 7 to 2 job (oh, yes and if you count those hours together, you’ll find a seven-hour work day, but, don’t forget all the sport and other extramural activities)/ Teachers put their hearts and souls into it, everyday, every moment.
My heart breaks when I see the photo circulating in the media, because every parent, including myself, and teacher worked hard to keep our terrain lovely. We painted the walls and planted trees, we planted green gardens and flower gardens and we made bathroom curtains, we painted the kitchen cupboards and walkways. ALL OF WHICH WE PAID FOR FROM OUR POCKETS! We were proud of our school terrain! I feel sad because I can’t help but wonder how our grade R classes would look five years from now.
Miss Elana Barkhuizen, you are strong, you are true friend, you have many people standing behind you. Be brave and fearless. Difficult times might lie ahead. But you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Greetings and love,
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