Knife-wielding boy back in school despite protests

2009-08-26 00:00

A DURBAN schoolboy who allegedly threatened his classmates with a knife is back at school, despite attempts by angry parents to stop the boy from returning to class.

The 13-year-old boy from Kenmont School on the Bluff was caught on CCTV cameras threatening fellow pupils with a knife on May 29. The video shows the boy getting into a heated argument with another pupil. This leads to the pupil grabbing a knife from his sock and running after the other pupils. The video captured the chase around the classroom and into the corridor.

The video was shown to parents who then demanded that the Education Department expel the boy. It is believed that the boy has also been involved in other incidents involving violence and sexual harassment.

Shortly after the incident, the school’s governing body sought an urgent interdict to prevent the teenager from returning to classes. They feared that parents would clash with the boy’s family.

Yesterday, angry parents blocked the main gate of the school to prevent the boy and his parents from entering the school.

The family met the Education Department officials and school management before he returned to class.

Umlazi district education manager Mlungisi Ntombela escorted the boy into school. He said the department believes the boy is ready to return to school.

Ntombela said the boy has undergone counselling by an educational psychologist in the past three weeks and will receive more counselling.

“He has learnt from his mistakes and is now ready to return to school. The parents should leave him alone as he is a young boy,” he said.

Ntombela said that the boy has a right to education and should be able to continue his schooling without being harassed.

“He is well and ready to take on the world. We want this matter to be put to rest now,” he said.

Vice- chairman of the governing body Rob Allan said the parents are taking the matter to Education MEC Senzo Mchunu and seeking legal counsel.

He said that the Education Department is following department frameworks which cannot be changed.

However, he said that things like thuggery, violence and sexual harassment should not be tolerated in schools.

“Our focus is the safety and security of our children. There is no quick fix to this problem, but we are prepared to run the gauntlet,” he added.

Allan said many parents are extremely concerned that the boy has returned to school and “some have resorted to keeping their children at home”.

He said that absenteeism rates wil’ increase as a result of the boy being back at school.

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