The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has come to the support of Stoneridge Primary School in Eden Park after a parent raised concerns about a form of punishment involving toilet cleaning. The parent, whose child is in Grade Six at the school, expressed dissatisfaction with the practice, emphasising that students attend school to learn, not to perform janitorial duties.
The concerned parent highlighted the potential health risks, especially for young children with less robust immune systems, and questioned students’ need to clean toilets when the school employs cleaners and handymen on the government payroll.
Moreover, she voiced her frustration at the idea of education being sidelined in favour of students performing tasks that are typically assigned to paid personnel, expressing concerns about the school’s overall condition and the commitment of its new principal.
Steve Mabona, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Education, clarified that Grade Six girls were asked to clean toilet walls as a disciplinary measure in response to profanity written on them. He emphasised that the intention was not malicious but aimed at correcting inappropriate behaviour. The cleaning occurred only once, during the last period of the day, and students then returned to their classrooms.
Mabona expressed the department’s support for the school’s efforts to instil discipline and condemned any misconduct undermining educational institutions’ dignity. He also called upon parents to enforce discipline both within and outside the school environment.
In response to the department’s explanation, the concerned parent expressed scepticism, suggesting that the children might be providing inaccurate accounts. She remained steadfast in her belief that her daughter should not be subjected to toilet cleaning as a form of punishment and voiced concerns about potential corruption and mistreatment of students at the school.
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Photo: Supplied by Alberton Record