South Africa News

Gauteng Education Dept finding new schools for Crowthorne Christian Academy pupils after dreadlocks saga

The Gauteng education department has confirmed it will be relocating pupils from the unregistered Crowthorne Christian Academy to neighbouring schools in Midrand.

This comes after the school courted controversy after it’s owner, Andries Hendrik Booysen, 51, was charged with assault after allegedly pushing a pupil and her mother after a heated argument about the pupils dreadlocks hairstyle, which was apparently against the school’s hair policy as the principal, Tanya Booysen, had deemed it to be hair extensions.

The parents argued unsuccessfully that the dreadlocks were in fact natural hair, but this fell on deaf ears as the Booysens insisted the hairstyle be removed before returning to school, leading to a heated argument which came to a head earlier this week.

Booysen was granted R2,000 bail at the Midrand Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

The encounter was captured on video and has since gone viral leading to EFF pickets outside the school, which has been closed indefinitely since Wednesday.

GDE spokesperson Steve Mabona condemned the incident.

“The department is aware of the incident at the said school. We condemn any form of ill treatment of the affected learner, and we will not tolerate any discrimination of learners,” said Mabona.

“It must be noted that the said school is illegally operating, and the learner was offered alternative schooling and counselling by the GDE.”

He said the school was operating illegally after the school relocated learners and changed the name of the school without following necessary procedure.

“The department can confirm that the Crowthorne Christian Academy is closed indefinitely, and the learners of the said school will be placed in neighbouring schools,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the school told parents via a text message that it would shut its doors indefinitely.

The school’s code of conduct on hair, which was shared on social media, said hair had to be clean and neat, no bleach, dye or highlights were allowed, no fashion clippings were allowed and no hair extensions were allowed.

It also said only natural hair was allowed.

The pupil’s sister had taken to social media to show interactions between the school and her parents. It appeared the school had been asking since the end of July for the pupil to remove her dreadlocks, but the parents refused, informing the principal that dreadlocks were natural hair.

Principal Booysen said: “No, she needs to go and remove the extensions. She can return once she adheres to the code of conduct”.

In another text she said: “Good morning N****, I see T****** still has her hair extensions. She needs to go home and can return to school once she adheres to the schools code of conduct. Kind Regards Tanya,” she said in a text.

The parent responded: “I have been telling you there’s no hair extensions on my child’s hair. It is her own black hair,” the parent said.

Booysen is expected back in court on October 2.


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