Outrage over suicide

2015-08-05 06:01
RED CARPET: The learners of the Technical High School Welkom seated next to the red carpet rolled out for their deceased fellow learner, Charlie Brown, at the emotional memorial service held in the school hall last Thursday (30/7).             

RED CARPET: The learners of the Technical High School Welkom seated next to the red carpet rolled out for their deceased fellow learner, Charlie Brown, at the emotional memorial service held in the school hall last Thursday (30/7). Phot

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THE alleged ill-treatment believed to have led to Welkom Technical High School learner Charlie Brown committing suicide, has sparked outrage.

Apparently, on the morning of 24 July the school’s management placed the gr. 11 learner in front of the assembly to apologise for copying during the June exam.

Allegedly distressed by the punishment which followed widespread mockery on social networks after the public apology, the 17-year-old Brown hanged himself in the garage of his parents’ home in Oppenheimer Park, Thabong in Welkom.

Apparently the deceased learner answered his mobile phone after it rang in class while the learners, including Brown, were writing June exams. The invigilating teacher believed Brown copied and acted accordingly.

Following this, the deceased learner was subjected to internal disciplinary action by the school’s management. Part of the disciplinary action was that Brown apologise in front of his peers at the assembly when the school reopened for the third term.

Some learners confirmed to Express

Goldfields andamp; NFS that Brown was put in front of the assembly to apologise in full view of fellow learners and the school’s management that he cheated by copying during the June exam.

The learner’s suicide has sparked outrage with parents Linda and Thakamane Sekhosana expressing their disgust that the THS management failed to consult them regarding the action, taken nor informed them about the alleged cheating which led to the learner committing suicide. Clarity could not be obtained from the school’s management whether there were communication between them and the parents.

The local ANC Harry Gwala branch in Welkom has also entered the fray, expres-sing outrage about the manner in which the school’s management handled the incident. Peter Noveld, chairperson of the local branch, said they were gravely concerned that the disciplinary action was not in line with the school’s code of conduct.

“We want them to answer all questions raised and prove that the child was in the wrong. There are questions the school’s management did not respond to. We want the department to interrogate everything the principal, Peter Swanepoel, is saying and that the treatment meted out to the child is the norm,” said Noveld.

Brown’s fellow learners described him as a “jolly good fellow”. Scores of mourners paid their last respect at a memorial service held at the school’s hall where a red carpet had been laid for Brown.

) Express Goldfields andamp; NFS has not been able to get any response from the Free State Department of Education as yet.

) The principal said the case was under investigation by the Department of Education and that he could not comment at this stage

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