Vories: where’s the outrage?

2014-06-09 00:00

SINCE the allegations of abusive initiation at Voortrekker High School were exposed by The Witness, there are a few things that have puzzled me about the way people have responded.

Instead of scrambling to do damage control, which has only served to sully Voortrekker’s reputation even further, and now even threatening The Witness with legal action, the school’s governing body and principal could have acted differently. They could have immediately made a statement acknowledging the incidents, taken responsibility and apologised to the victims. They should have condemned the alleged brutal acts in the strongest possible terms and, without hesitation, the boys accused of responsibility should have been frog-marched off the school campus and suspended with immediate effect, whether they are writing matric or not.

If the governing body and the school’s leaders knew what was going on and did nothing to act, the entire governing body should be dissolved and the school’s leaders should be held personally accountable too.

At the very least, all parents of pupils at Voortrekker should be demanding answers and threatening to remove their children from the school if the situation is not resolved in a just and transparent manner, whether or not their children are affected. They should be picketing outside the school every day, voicing their disgust and even boycotting it by keeping their children out until they receive satisfactory answers and resolutions.

They should be appalled that their children are apparently not safe in an institution that they rely upon to educate, nurture and develop them into adults who will be productive and make a meaningful contribution to this city one day.

Did Voortrekker parents know that the type of initiation which is alleged occurs and are they of the opinion that the only way to turn boys into men is through violence, abuse and torture? What kind of men will they turn out to be?

Why has The Witness not been flooded with letters from members of the public, expressing their horror that these alleged acts are occurring at one of the city’s schools? Are we so desensitised to violence because of the society we live in that such a terrible story simply goes over our heads as we eat our morning cornflakes?

Perhaps readers are so tired of reading about the murders, rapes and assaults that are such an integral part of our lives that they simply turn the page, not wanting to read about more violence.

It’s a terrible thing to live in a country where you are terrorised by and live in fear of your own species, where children are abused, bullied and tortured by other children and where adults who are supposed to be protecting and teaching these children do nothing.

Where is the condemnation from the other schools in the city? As far as I’ve seen, not one principal of another school has stepped forward and voiced his or her concern that this type of behaviour is going on. Principals and teachers should be assuring the public that violent initiation is not the order of the day, that it is not condoned and that if it does occur, it is dealt with swiftly and concisely. Unless, of course, it is also occurring at other schools and they are thanking their lucky stars that they have not been exposed as Voortrekker has been.

If so, they dare not voice their disapproval in case their school is placed under the spotlight. I hope that this is not the case, because if it is then those of us who are parents should be extremely concerned at what kind of education our children are receiving.

What about the parents of the bullies themselves? Are they not horrified that their children believe that it’s acceptable to torture a fellow human being? Why have they not taken the initiative and removed their children from the school themselves, perhaps being proactive and getting them psychological help; clearly they need it?

Have they thought to contact the boys who were hurt to apologise for their own sons’ behaviour; have they thought of making their sons take responsibility for their behaviour by making them acknowledge their wrongdoing and apologise to their victims?

Perhaps these parents feel their sons have done nothing wrong. Perhaps their sons were tortured in the same manner and they did nothing about it. Perhaps they told their sons to man up and not be sissies. Perhaps the Springs Monster’s parents reacted the same way.

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