Security guard pepper sprays high school pupil

2015-10-29 14:56
Security guards outside Allen Glen High School (Supplied to News24)

Security guards outside Allen Glen High School (Supplied to News24)

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Johannesburg - A video has emerged of security guards pepper spraying a high school pupil at a school northwest of Johannesburg.

The security company, Beagle Watch, which is also facing allegations of slapping a girl on the school premises, said it had been deployed to Allen Glen High School in Roodepoort because a teacher had been attacked by pupils, and there had been fighting between matrics and Grade 11 pupils.

The school governing body has not denied Wednesday morning's incident, saying it was under investigation.

"What I can say is that it is currently under investigation by the school, so at this stage I wouldn't be in a position to comment, because I don't want to compromise the investigation," Allen Glen school governing body chairperson Warren MacKrill told News24 on Thursday.

"I am not denying that something happened, but we are investigating."

He said the school's findings would be handed over the Gauteng department of education (GDE).

Guard 'took out his gun and cocked it'

A pupil at the school, who did not want to be named due to fear of reprisal, told News24 matrics had finished writing exams late on Wednesday morning and were walking to their cars and lockers to get their things when they were stopped by Beagle Watch security guards.

"Beagle Watch stopped us and when we asked them why, they didn't give us a reasonable explanation. They said 'You can't go anywhere'," the pupil said.

"A teacher was standing there...We asked him and he said we weren't allowed to use the lockers and we can get our belongings tomorrow. Two of the people who had driven to school asked how they were going to get home and he said that is not his problem. We had no idea what was happening."

One male pupil walked through a gap between two of the security guards on the way to his car and apparently the guards ran after him and told him he was not going anywhere.

"He said he hadn't done anything wrong and the security guards pushed him, then another learner did the exact same thing, walked by, the security guards pushed him and the guards were pushing both the students and that's when the security guard took out his gun [facing down] and cocked it," the pupil said.

This has been denied by Beagle Watch.

The pupil who spoke to News24 was eventually allowed to go to their locker, get their belongings, and went out the school gates across the road.

Another scuffle

Then another scuffle broke out.

"The next minute I saw one of my friends being slapped by this guy from Beagle Watch, and the teachers standing there, but they weren't doing anything while this was happening. The principal was not there."

"So the guy [pupil] said to the security guard he was grown up and how can he hit a girl for doing nothing. He pushed the guard back and he was pepper sprayed."

The pupil told News24 there was a member of the school governing body and several teachers present, though two of teachers only spoke up after the pepper spraying took place.

"The girl who was slapped, she went to the school gate and took pictures of the guys. And the guy from the school governing body told her to calm down. She ignored him and continued taking pictures."

Apparently the female pupil who was slapped had also called Honeydew police, who came to the school around 11:45, drove inside, spoke to teachers and the Beagle Watch guards, then left.


(Supplied to News24)

Arguing

Anne Wood, customer relations manager at Beagle Watch, told News24 that while their guards were at the school - one of a number of schools Beagle Watch work with - some pupils threatened guards.

"Yesterday we were at the school while they were writing exams. When they finished, students were told to leave the school. Some of the learners were arguing with our reaction officers, telling them they were going to beat them up and they were pushing the reaction officers," Wood said.

"Pepper spray was used. It was used by reaction officers on unruly students who were getting aggressive. We did not point firearms at all, neither was a firearm drawn during the altercation at any point.

"They [the pupils] did leave the school but there was a member of the governing body present and there were teachers present."

Asked if a pupil was slapped by one of the security officers, Wood said, "Not as far as I'm aware".

She said their staff are highly trained, and have to protect themselves.

"Guards acted appropriately given the circumstances of the situation at the time."

- Read more: School stops dad from protesting against bullying.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education

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