Boy had knives in pencil bag

2009-11-25 00:00

THE KZN Education Department has appealed to parents and guardians to talk to children about the dangers of engaging in criminal activities, the carrying of weapons and drugs.

This comes after a grade six pupil was handed over to police on Monday at Suncrest Primary School in Northdale after three knives were found and confiscated from the pupil’s pencil case.

According to police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan, the 14- year-old boy’s teacher was alerted about the knives by another pupil. According to a parent who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, the boy had planned to use the knife to “sort another boy out”.

However, the boy’s mother said he took the knives from another boy, who wanted to use them.

The teacher asked the boy to accompany her to the principal’s office and bring his pencil case with him. When the principal searched the pencil case, which according to department spokeswoman Mbali Thusi is within the principal’s rights, he found the knives.

Police, together with the pupil’s parents, were called in. She added that a disciplinary hearing will be held and, depending on the outcome, necessary sanctions as stipulated by the school’s code of conduct will be imposed.

Thusi stressed that children come to school from different backgrounds, having been exposed to different situations and influences that they see within their surroundings, be it at home or in the community.

She said children may even come to school with underlying problems they are experiencing, which is why as the department they have adopted a strategy to have schools as centres of care and support so that they can work together with stakeholders and other relevant government departments, such as social development and the police, to assist pupils.

“It is imperative and of utmost importance that there be a co-ordinated effort with all the relevant stakeholders such as parents, the community, police and other departments to remedy this problem. The department has been working closely with the SAPS in conducting the search and seizure campaign in schools and this has yielded positive results, resulting in weapons and drugs being confiscated,” she said.

When the child’s mother was contacted yesterday, she told The Witness that she had taken her son out of the school.

She described her son as a typical teen, saying he had taken the knives from a friend who was planning to use them on another boy.

“I’m not saying my son is not naughty, but I don’t understand why everyone is turning this into a big issue to be published in [the media].

“If my son had not taken the knives, the situation could have been worse. Why is he now being treated like a criminal? He prevented a big problem but now he is being blamed.”

The boy was handed over to Child Welfare by police, and by yesterday he was back in his parents’ custody.

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