It is only the second day back to school, and there’s pandemonium at some Gauteng schools. At least three people, including two pupils, have been shot dead on school property, while protests disrupted learning at a special needs school.
Murder-suicide between quarrelling pupils at Lesiba Secondary
A quarrel between two teenage pupils from Lesiba Secondary ended in tragedy after one them pulled a gun on his schoolmate and then shot himself.
“It is alleged that the two learners had a quarrel yesterday during schooling hours. This allegedly led to the one learner fatally shooting the other learner on the head outside of school premises, then subsequently shooting himself,” said Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this shooting.
Psycho-Social Unit officials were deployed to counsel members of the school community who were affected by this incident.
“It is tragic to lose learners at the hands of violence as the academic year begins. We, wish to send our sincere condolences to the families of these learners. We also urge our learners to always refrain from any form of violent behaviour,” said Lesufi.
Kwa Phalo Primary GA shot dead on school grounds
In Soweto, a 49-year-old general assistant from Kwa Phalo Primary School was shot on the school premises on Thursday.
He was declared dead by paramedics on the scene. Police are currently investigating the incident.
“It is unfortunate to learn of such a tragic incident involving one of our dedicated General Assistants. As the Department, we send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and we plea with police authorities to ensure that justice is served in this case,” said Lesufi.
Learning disrupted at special needs school
Then, community members in Orange Farm barred teachers and pupils from entering the Duzenendlela LSEN School on Thursday.
Residents are demanding the schools be converted into a mainstream school and claimed that some pupils were being excluded.
They also demanded jobs and tenders from the school and accused the School Governing Body (SGB) of appointing people outside the community.
“Duzenendlela is one of our few schools which educate learners with special needs. We condemn this disruption and strongly believe that is propelled by some community members selfish acts which deprive the most vulnerable learners the right to education,” said Lesufi.
“We have invested in improving and opening more schools for learners with special needs to reduce the waiting list and, as such, it is unfair for people to disrupt such a school and even go to an extent of demanding that it must be changed to be a mainstream school, in contrast actually the community should be calling for the opening of more such schools,” he added.
Placement woes continue
Meanwhile, Lesufi has appealed to the public to stop making violent threats over school placements.
Hundreds of pupils are still waiting for places in Gauteng schools. The department says 596 Grade one and eight pupils applications are being processed.
“We are aware that our District Offices are pressured with parents who seek assistance on late applications, and those who are unhappy with schools they were offered,” said Lesufi.
“Our officials are working tirelessly to assist all parents. We also wish to appeal to the public not to threaten officials with violence, it is really unfair to them”, he added
(Compiled by Narissa Subramoney)