Pupils late and locked out

2012-04-19 00:00

SOME drank alcohol, one went to fetch her boyfriend, boys played soccer on the street and others went straight home. But they should have been in class.

These were some of the scenes yesterday outside Haythorne Secondary School in Woodlands after the school shut its gates for latecomers.

Scores of boys and girls camped outside the school premises demanding that the main gate to school be opened.

“I’m late because I need to take my baby to crèche and clean the house before I come to school,” a Grade 11 pupil told The Witness.

Another said she lived in Imbali and left the house at 6.30 am, but traffic jams and long queues at the taxi rank delayed her.

“I’m in Grade 12 and we’re writing tests in two weeks’ time.

“How do they expect us to pass if they won’t let us in?” she cried.

Most pupils told The Witness that their 7.45 am starting time was too early.

“What’s the point of coming to school early when teachers only start their lessons at 9 am?” another pupil asked.

For some it was an opportunity to go out with their peers.

“We’re just going to find ourselves a park to go drink and smoke,” a pupil bragged.

A concerned parent from Napierville critcised the school’s decision to close the gates to the pupils.

“My concern is that there are children who use two taxis to get to school and with these traffic jams they can’t make it there by 7.45 am, but I agree there is no excuse for local residents.

“If you stop them from getting into the school’s yard these kids will start doing wrong things,” he said.

A Woodlands resident who lives near a bottle store said she was appalled by the pupils’ behaviour.

“They were drinking. They sent older fellows to go and buy them alcohol. They were very rowdy.”

Department of Education spokesperson Mbali Thusi said schools had been instructed not to admit pupils if they arrived late.

Thusi said: “We’re reiterating this stance not only to instill a culture of discipline among pupils but also for all pupils to take education seriously.”

South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said the union was urging schools to come up with ways to curb latecomers.

“We used to think locking pupils out would work.

“But this defeats the purpose because some pupils get stranded,” Cembi said.

She urged teachers to arrive early and be prepared at schools and to adhere to a campaign of quality learning and teaching.

“Everything starts at home and parents must ensure that their children wake up early in the morning,” she advised.

One pupil said she had learnt her lesson: “I’ll make sure I get to school early. I’m going to leave the house at 6.15 am.”

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.