A student at Portland Secondary School in Mitchells Plain reportedly received a spiritual calling at school which left other learners and parents spooked. The learner allegedly began acting strangely and speaking in tongues.
In a letter, the school described the event as a “cultural incident” that was “blown out of proportion”. Students allegedly informed their parents without proper background information and before the school could do so. According to Portland Secondary School, this resulted in unnecessary panic as parents came to collect their children from school.
“Posts on social media claiming all sorts of untruths about the incident must be condemned with the contempt it deserves,” the school wrote.
In a video that was shared on social media, parents questioned the school about the safety of their children. One mother went on to say that Portland is a school, not a church or a mosque.
However, the department of education confirmed in a separate statement that no spiritual or religious rituals were performed at Portland Secondary School.
The department confirmed that a learner allegedly had a spiritual calling that was then shared on social media, resulting in misinformation and panic. The school dismissed learners early due to the disruption caused to teaching and learning.
“The district will be providing the school with necessary counselling support,” the statement said.
The Western Cape Department of Education’s spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said that the incident needs to be addressed with parents and a spiritual healer according to family beliefs.
Hammond said that no school could intervene in spiritual matters as they are not equipped to do so, but they must respect and acknowledge that pupils have different beliefs.
“As a fully integrated school, we have learners from all colours of the rainbow nation, all religions are respected, cultural diversity [is] valued, and our motto is that this is a school for all learners that want to pursue knowledge,” the school wrote.
Social media is proving to be problematic for learners at school in the Western Cape. Students filmed each other drinking beer and smoking weed at a Stellenbosch school in February this year.