Department and SGB silent on stabber’s return

2009-10-21 00:00

NEITHER the Woodlands Secondary school governing body (SGB) nor the KZN Education Department have been able to explain why 18-year-old matric pupil Kylin Freason, who faces charges of attempted murder after allegedly stabbing a grade 11 pupil last week, was allowed back to school following reports that he was expelled last year for allegedly stabbing another pupil with a pair of scissors.

SGB chairman U. Ramesar said the governing body is satisfied that management and staff have all the necessary safety and welfare measures in place for safeguarding pupils.

Ramesar was responding to last week’s report on the stabbing of Krishen Govender (18).

Before publishing the story, the paper made numerous attempts to contact the department and the school for comment, as well as trying to obtain contact details for the SGB office bearers, all to no avail.

Ramesar said the SGB does not condone or tolerate the violent behaviour of any pupil.

He said it is unfortunate that the first report “gave the impression that public schools and Woodlands Secondary School in this case neglected their educational responsibility in matters leading up to this incident”.

Ramesar said the school has a permanent security guard at the main entrance to enforce its safety and security policy.

Despite reports by sources who spoke to The Witness last week that older boys smoked dagga in school corridors and carry knives to threaten other pupils, Ramesar said no dangerous weapons, drugs or alcohol are permitted on the premises.

He labelled the insinuation that gangs exist at the school as inaccurate.

“The security guard patrols the school grounds during breaks, together with educators on duty. But one needs to be mindful that we have a learner population of over a thousand.”

He said metal detectors are also randomly used three times a week, and upon suspicion of any weapons being carried by pupils, teachers carry out physical searches.

Asked whether the security guard tried to intervene and break up the fight, which occurred close to the school’s tuck-shop, not far from where the guard is based, Ramesar said that is being investigated by the police and is therefore sub judice.

He also refused to answer to allegations that Freason was expelled from the school last year for stabbing another pupil with a pair of scissors. Asked why he was allowed back at school, Ramesar referred questions to the department.

Freason was last week granted bail of R1 000, and may not return to the school.

DEPARTMENT spokeswoman Mbali Thusi was sent a list of questions before the story was published on Thursday last week.

The same query was made again the next day.

Yesterday, a list of questions was e-mailed to Thusi at 12.08 pm and again at 2.33 pm to check on the progress.

Thusi was called at 3.01 pm on her cellphone, and said the matter was being handled.

Thusi, who said she was not feeling well, said Sihle Mlotshwa would take over when she left. However, Mlotshwa failed to answer his cellphone when he was called at 4.33 pm, 4.40 pm and 5.15 pm, with messages left on his voicemail.

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