People are coming together to rally against DF Malan High School on social media.
Last night, a post from the Instagram account @Keeptheenergy, which boasts 91.2k followers, started gaining significant traction.
The post essentially targeted the high school based in Bellville, Cape Town on the basis of how a homophobic/queerphobic incident was handled by the school.
Here’s what happened allegedly.
On Monday, June 7, students were celebrating Pride Month during their break time, and students who identified as part of the LGBTQI+ community, as well as those in support of the movement formed part of this group, IOL confirms.
News24 reports that allegedly, the ‘celebration’ was really a sit-in. IOL confirms that Pride celebrations weren’t approved by the school. According to the Anti-GBV Movement SU, the students had items in their possession that were decorated with the Pride flag, which was nothing near violent.
However, according to Keep The Energy and IOL, things took an ugly turn for the group. A group of grade 12 learners allegedly decided to bully and intimidate the group by means of crude slurs, proudly using hate speech and embracing intimidation strategies.
Later, the group was added to a WhatsApp group called “F*ck The F*ggots”, as per IOL.
What happened next?
The targeted group of Pride supporters went to report the incident to a teacher, as Anti-GBV Movement SU reports. This would seem like a natural step, as we are taught as students to take such matters to people like our teachers, and trust that they will speak up on behalf of our justice in places that we cannot, as many people in the various comments sections remind us.
It has been said that an educator who they initially approached was very understanding of the situation, and said that he would handle the matter, Anti-GBV Movement SU adds.
However, the activism page Keep The Energy has targeted the principal of DF Malan, who according to them, allegedly told the students that they shouldn’t celebrate Pride Month for their own good, and that schools “aren’t the place for such things.”
Apparently he went on to say that the students should rather celebrate something like Youth Day, Keep The Energy reports.
As this is a developing story, what was actually said by the principal has not been confirmed as of yet. Nevertheless, the activist pages have made firm their stance on the matter.
What’s happening now in terms of social media activism?
“We condemn the queerphobia that took place at DF Malan Highschool,” Keep The Energy captioned their post.
On social media, people have been openly displaying their disappointment on the matter, saying it is ridiculous that in this day and age, people are still facing such discrimination, while very little is being done about it.
Others have drawn parallels, indicating that people couldn’t really expect much progression from a school that boasts the name ‘DF Malan’. The school has been under fire for its name recently too.
Since then, a petition has been started by an LGBT non-profit organisation called the Triangle Project.
Like Keep The Energy, they have called for an apology from the school, as well as disciplinary action for the students.
Triangle Project has also called for educational seminars to help students and teachers become more aware, and to promote inclusion.
The school governing body has said in a statement that, “The outcome was exactly what the school wanted to prevent. The school regrets the incident and we realise that we need to work harder on our plans to achieve mutual respect between each other.”