South African teacher suspended over seating students by race

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"The kids were quite unsettled, you must realise they were five years old on their first day at school, and she grouped them in a way she thought would settle them quickly and comfort them", he said.

The DA's North West Premier candidate Joe McGluwa spent the day at the school on Thursday amid protests outside the premises.

The sleepy town of Schweizer-Reneke in the North West is on tenterhooks after a picture showing black and white pupils sitting separately according to race in a Grade R classroom at the local primary school went viral. One of the kids mothers', during an interview with Open News South Africa, recalled how excited she was to drop off her child at the Grade R class, where all the kids were lined up outside, ready to start the day.

The image began circulating on social media.

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Sello Lehari, the provincial Education Minister, said after stopping by the school: "From the information I got from the meeting, it seems that there are a lot of cases here of racism".

The picture showed the 18 white learners in the classroom all occupying a single large desk in the middle of the classroom, while the four black children in the class occupied one desk in a corner at the far end of the classroom.

TimesLIVE has learnt that an investigation into the school's principal was also being carried out.

What happened at the school?

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On the other side of the school, parents of white children broke a fence and removed their children, with some of the adults armed with firearms. Now they want to make this as if it's racism.

"'As a result, blacks including coloured and Indian people have no option but to take their children to such racist private schools for better education", Mr Sigudu added.

In the video below, shared by Eyewitness News, you can see the children hop off the bus, However, it is the teachers who group them based on who is white and who is black.

Another parent said she was "pi**** off" by the picture, saying white parents had been thanking the teacher for the image in the WhatsApp group but no-one had brought up the separation. There are over 10 schools at the township.

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The account claims the children were rearranged and the photo taken in response to the backlash with which the incident was met.