Angry parents in South Africa are demanding a school principal be suspended over a photo showing a classroom with white kids at one table and black kids at a smaller one.

School officials already suspended the teacher of the class at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke school, pending an investigation into possible racism.  This happened in Schweizer-Reneke, a conservative, small, rural town with a population predominantly made up of white Afrikaner farmers. \

Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke

The teacher sent the photo of black and white kids sitting at separate tables to parents via the internet to show them that the kids were alright.  But questions started coming in, and school officials rationalized the seating arrangement by saying some of the children spoke English while the others spoke Afrikaans, which is descended from the Dutch dialect spoken by white colonizers in the 18th century.

"The school explained that the black learners were seated at a separate table because they did not understand English and Afrikaans," said North West Education member of the executive council (MEC) Sello Lehari.  "We did not accept their explanation."

Racism is still deeply embedded in South Africa nearly 25 years after white-minority rule ended.  Language policy has historically been used to exclude black learners, a fact not lost community members who complained of deep-rooted racism at the school.

"The principal must go" said one parent, "You cannot suspend the teacher and leave the principal, the principal is the accounting officer."