CAPE TOWN – A Retreat boy whose family spent nearly R40 000 on his matric ball, says his big night was ruined after the school denied him access to the venue because of his hairstyle.
The mother of Neo Kleinsmith, 17, who attends Zwaanswyk High School, says she is tired of her child being victimised over his hair.
Neo’s family pulled out all the stops for his matric ball on Saturday, which included hiring a black and orange Ford Mustang GT and having a table for 100 people to celebrate his achievement.
But his dream of a perfect night out was dashed when security staff denied him entry to the matric ball venue at Ratanga Junction.
Mom Charma Wilson says her family has been humiliated by the school.
“We spent between R30 000 and R40 000 for everything. We had a party for more than 100 people. That was family, friends and for people in the street,” she says.
His mother got into an argument with the principal outside the venue but they refused to let him in and his family took Neo and his partner to the V&A Waterfront for supper.
“It was to compensate for the night being spoilt.”
Wilson says the problems started several months ago when school principal Shandré Otto told her son to cut his ear-length bob.
The mom says she called the principal who was allegedly rude to her.
“I wanted to go see her but she just said that she gave me instructions and that was that. I told her I do not take instructions from her and I would not have his hair cut,” she says.
“It was not long and it was neat as they set out in the code of conduct that they later changed.”
She says the next day, the school instituted disciplinary action against her son and the principal allegedly made him sit at a desk outside the girls’ toilet to humiliate him.
Neo says: “I had to ask teachers who were passing by for schoolwork to do because they took me out of class.”
Charma says after several hearings and appeals, she lodged a complaint with education MEC Debbie Schäfer and met with a circuit manager who informed them that sanctions would be lifted and if Neo cut his hair above his collar, he would be allowed to attend the matric ball.
An outraged Charma says: “If you look around us, all you see is gangsterism and drugs. I have raised a decent child but they keep victimising him over hair. I mean, it is short and neat. If they said he murdered someone or had drugs or something then I can understand, but over hair?”
Schäfer’s spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, says Neo was denied access to the ball based on a sanction imposed by the School Governing Body (SGB) following a disciplinary hearing regarding misconduct.
She says they are not aware of any appeal being lodged and the school felt the teen’s hair contravened the school code of conduct.
PHOTO: Neo Kleinsmith says he was banned from his matric ball. Picture: Monique Duval/Daily Voice