Bullet hole lessons?

2016-03-08 06:00
Pupils of Montagues Gift Primary School protest outside the school on Thursday afternoon after a classroom was set alight and the alleged arsonist was shot on the school premises.  PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

Pupils of Montagues Gift Primary School protest outside the school on Thursday afternoon after a classroom was set alight and the alleged arsonist was shot on the school premises. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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Parents, pupils and former pupils of Montagues Gift Primary School aired their frustration on the school premises on Thursday, demanding a safer school for current pupils.

Pupils and community members were left reeling when they were told on Thursday morning that a classroom had been burnt and someone had been shot on the schoolgrounds in the early hours of Thursday.

When People’s Post visited the school on Thursday afternoon, pupils pointed out bullet holes in gutters and on the pavement.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says a suspect was shot after he was caught setting a classroom on fire.

“A man from Parkwood was shot after he was caught in the act by an ADT officer at about 00:13 on Wednesday. A scuffle between the two occurred,” she says.

The intruder was shot several times. He was then rushed to hospital.

Arson and business burglary are being investigated by police.

No-one has been arrested yet.

Parents and former pupils gathered at the school gate, saying they demanded better services at the school, citing that security was their main concern.

One parent who is also a former pupil, Galiema Lawrence, said she was disgusted by the state of the school.

“This used to be one of the top schools in Grassy Park.

“But now if children hear of ‘Monties’ they tell you straight out they do not want to attend school here,” she said.

Parents said their biggest concern was the lack of day-to-day security at the school and the lack of fencing around the premises.

Maurita de Klerk said they were concerned for the safety of their children as the fencing and security at the school were not up to scratch.

“The entire field at the back of the school is open. People use the field as a throughway to get to Plantation Road or to get into Parkwood – it’s not on.

“Daily, they have one Bambanani worker stationed here. What will happen if that person’s life is put in danger?” De Klerk said.

The group of pupils who gathered near the school gate chanted they were “gatvol”, with their parents seeming to support them.
Parents said they were frustrated with the principal as well as he would not address them at the school after hearing of the incidents. “The principal has not come out once since we came to this school early this afternoon. He is avoiding us and the issue. I had to rush from my workplace to the school because I am concerned for my children,” Shireen Marthinus, a parent, said.

At the time of People’s Post’s visit to the school, a meeting was underway between the principal and the Department of Education. A smell of damp smoke covered the school’s foyer from the burnt classroom which had been cordoned off by police during the morning.

Parents said further they could not understand how the school did not have an intercom system.

Shameela Adams said she was disappointed in the school for not allowing pupils to stay home on Thursday after the incident.

“We sent our children to school and they came here and were traumatised by the scenes. Bullet holes and blood could still be seen this morning and they had to witness it. They could have let the children stay home,” Adams said.

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