Gay pupils 'victimised' in schools

The Triangle Project says gay pupils are dropping out of school due to victimisation.

The Triangle Project says gay pupils are dropping out of school due to victimisation.

CAPE TOWN - A gay and lesbian rights group on Wednesday said it hopes its school campaign will educate teachers and principals of the emotional needs of gay pupils.

Triangle Project conducts life orientation classes at some Western Cape schools, teaching pupils to be accepting of their peers' sexual preference.

The project's Sharon Ludwig believes there is a great need for these classes.

She says they often struggle to keep gay pupils in school.

Ludwig said many learners were victimised by class mates, teachers and principals, but hopes their campaign will change the mindset of these people.

"In light of all of this, we are going to be rolling out a booklet targeted at teachers around the problem of bullying."

But Ludwig believes they can only do so much to stop people from suffering prejudice at schools.

"We don't know if schools will put that up on their premises, but we hope they do."

Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission is investigating the alleged suspension of a Rastafarian learner from a Khayelitsha school.

According to Equal Education, Sikhokele Diniso was suspended about three weeks ago after the principal allegedly asked him to cut his dreadlocks.

The Siphamandla High student refused, saying he was growing his hair according to religious beliefs.

The Western Cape Education Department however maintains the principal had not suspended Diniso, but simply asked him to comb his hair to look more presentable.

The commission's Kayum Ahmed says, "The South African Human Rights Commission received a complaint from Equal Education in relation to a learner who had been allegedly suspended because he was wearing dreadlocks. The South African Human Rights Commission is currently investigating the matter."