Teacher 'watched boys fight'

2012-02-11 09:47

Port Elizabeth – A shocking cellphone video shows how two schoolboys from the Bergsig Special School in Uitenhage fight while their teacher only watches.

It was reported earlier that a boy from this school was admitted to hospital on January 23 after he was hit over the head with a pipe by one of his classmates.

A fellow pupil took a video of the events that led to the assault.

One of boys’ legal representative said the video footage showed that the two boys fought viciously before the attack. He said the most shocking part was, however, how the teacher simply stood and watched as the two pupils fought in the workshop.

At one stage the boys were chased out of the classroom but then the teacher continued to watch the fight. There was no attempt to stop them fighting.

A charge of assault has been laid with the police.

Both boys were suspended pending the outcome of the school’s investigation.

The provincial department of education was also investigating the incident.

Bergsig principal Deon Wolmarans did not want to comment on the incident or on the video. 

He simply said the school had launched its own internal investigation.

  • Tilly - 2012-02-11 09:58

    I always maintained, no qualification guarantees a good character be it teachers, doctors etc.

      Chloe - 2012-02-11 11:14

      why not put the video on for us to see what goes on in schools ?

      Eduard - 2012-02-11 12:40

      yes agree, let us see it...better than the stuff on SABC or news about ANC/ ANCYL

      Newsreader - 2012-02-11 15:39

      So now we need a gumguard for woodwork!

  • IanBerry001 - 2012-02-11 10:05

    The teacher was obviously either a coward, or he gets his rocks off on watching juveniles fight

      daniel.oosthuizen - 2012-02-11 10:23

      you're such an idiot!

  • Olivia - 2012-02-11 10:08

    The teachers we have today, are just not at all in the same league as those who taught 20 years ago. They take no pride or caring in the the pupils they claim to teach, nor is their any pride in their job as a teacher. Very very sad indeed.

      Rudi - 2012-02-11 10:46

      Yip 20 years ago my teachers would have beaten the crap out of the little bastards. If a teacher did it today he would find himself without a job or even in jail.

      Wall - 2012-02-11 11:12

      Olivia, don't generalise. Just because some are useless, doesn't mean they all are. I know many amazing teachers who will walk the extra mile for their kids.

      Jason - 2012-02-11 11:15

      Nobody seems to worry about these little bastards blatantly disregarding a teachers classroom and their school. Parents should be charged!

      Gail - 2012-02-11 15:41

      Olivia, This is total generalisation! Children learn from what they see in their homes. Some teachers may not be as good as 20years ago but let us not forget that these kids asre the children of those who were taught by those teachers 20 years ago. The school teachers are at the mercy of Departmental rules and parents who seem to think it is a school's task to raise their children. Just as there are children with good parenting skills who don't believe nothing is their little diddums fault or theirs so there are bad parents who are the direct cause of the problems we teachers encounter en masse with little authority to act against misfits from broken homes or homes where money and possessions are more important than participating and actually putting value into raising their children from birth. I have taught problem children whose home life broke my heart when I learned their history as well as children from stable responsible homes. It gets so that you don't need to read their history to know their home background and I'm not talking about African children either.

      Sandra - 2012-02-11 19:20

      You are correct! They are professionals, NOT baby sitters!

  • meredith.r.pollock - 2012-02-11 10:08

    Love how the two boys were suspended but not the cowardly teacher - WTF????? The teacher should be fired, no excuses!!!!

      Garth - 2012-02-11 11:47

      In reply to your and other ill-informed comments: Were you there? Do you have any knowledge of the mental state of both boys? Do you know the parents of the boys? Do you know the age, size, fighting weight of the 2 boys involved? Do you know the age, size, fighting weight of the teacher involved? If your answers to these questions are no - then shut up! With the state of our schools, the complete lack of respect for teachers, the absence of discipline, the fact that children have more rights than adults and the lack of accountability of most parents, I too would not have interfered. And I, meredith pollock, am no coward.

      Deon - 2012-02-11 12:25

      yeah meredith, lots to say hey, i take you were there and saw it all

      Peter - 2012-02-11 15:31

      Gotta agree with Garth, too few facts to judge, and the power of adults has been removed. Some of these kids are huge these days, also full of substances like steroids which can cause extreme and dangerous aggression. The teacher could have called for help though surely, if he was not physically capable of stopping the "kids".

      Gail - 2012-02-11 15:48

      There is a shortage of teachers or hadn't you heard? Most teachers today are poorly paid and get no danger pay for dealing with violent children. It is entirely possible that the teacher remained there while help was sent for to prevent a murder. That is not cowardice, but common sense.

      John - 2012-02-11 16:24

      Agreed Meredith... If the teacher cannot control what happens in his class then he is not worthy of that position. At your critics, most quality teachers don't have a problem instilling discipline in their classes. But either way, to stand by and watch is inexcusable.... and it would appear from the article he watched not only in the class, but also when it continued outside. And as for Garth and Deons comments about were you there... Come on guys... we all comment on articles based on what we read and feel.... None of us are ever there, but that doesn't stop us from expressing an opinion.

      Liz - 2012-02-11 16:39

      @ Gail - you are making very good points Gail but sadly they will probably not be acknowledged - it is so much easier to just blame the teacher without really knowing the facts. Numbers (BUT NOT ALL) of contributors here who are so sure they know where to lay the blame will probably settle down to watch a violent video tonight maybe with their children and/or have no clue about the kind of video games their kids are playing. It is time we took stock of what contribution WE are making to creating to the violence we see. I am a social worker and have dealt with kids who have "lost it" - they are very powerful and very scary especially when they pick up a pipe or a stick or a bottle. We do not know all the facts about this case and it is possible the teacher could do more - but I find it sickening when the very parents who often contribute to creating violent children turn around and blame "the government" and the "teachers." Even the violence of language on this channel give you an idea of how conversations probably run in that home.

      meredith.r.pollock - 2012-02-11 18:36

      Garth & others, its because of gutless wonders like you that we have these situations, every single time there is a fight or any kind of trouble you are all quick to have a say but to damn gutless to actually step up and get involved, its no bloody wonder this country & its schools are so screwed up because everybody wants to talk talk talk but nobody actually wants to step in and get involved, so Garth maybe you should shut up until you can actually walk the talk you are giving... If your child were involved i bet it would be a whole different story then you would be quick to be angry bcos the teacher didn't step in... Instead of just talking why don't you actually get involved??? South Africans have become far too gutless, as long as they not on the receiving end then all is good.. SA will never come right until people actually start standing up for themselves & others.. All the dislikes on my comments mean squat to me because it is all the gutless wonders knowing what i say has some truth to it...

      Deon - 2012-02-12 12:09

      ...sorry john, but to make statements like meredith does does hold any ground at all How can she just jump to conclusions and 'Fire" the teacher. Hopefully she'll stop being so damn narrow-minded and realise her comments are totally out of line - maybe she'll apologise to the teache who loses his income because of idiots like this quality parent and aprents kids. GUTLESS....?? well if she and her ilk were to educate her kids with some integrity this wouldnt happen hey?

  • daniel.oosthuizen - 2012-02-11 10:14

    No, he's not a coward - he simply doesn't want to put his own life in danger for the small salary he receives.

      Brad.Kopping - 2012-02-11 10:16

      thats the sad truth of it. they should bring back Corporal Punishment.

      seanhcape - 2012-02-11 10:29

      True. If the teacher split them up and a punch flew at him, he could not retaliate otherwise he would be fired. Bottom line. Watch the bastards fight. Leave them to natural selection. Or.... bring back corporal punishment to sort this crap out

      carpejugulim - 2012-02-11 11:02

      the really sad thing is a teacher may not lay a hand on a pupil even if they are fighting. I noticed the immense amount of self restraint shown by the pupils that the fight became physical and I can bet that the teacher was following written policy ... thou shalt not touch

      Wall - 2012-02-11 11:14

      All schools have security guards. If he doesn't want to split them up himself, he could have called them. No excuse for allowing this to happen.

      Deon - 2012-02-11 12:28

      ...and if the teacher did intefere and a stray punch hit the teacher, the teacher would have been investigated, suspended and sued for "interferring" and probably lost his job. The trash of some school kids of today is disgusting. The kids are like criminals - all have so many rights but little respect and honesty

      Nerine - 2012-02-13 18:27

      i agree with u daniel oosthuizen

  • Carlin - 2012-02-11 10:16

    Get real people. The teachers are pretty much powerless to do anything because of our "please don't hurt the little darlings" laws. The youth are running riot. They know they are untouchable. What goes on at this shool will blow your mind (I have personal knowledge), and there are worse schools by far. The schools are run by the children and the playground thugs and bullies rule the roost. Until YOUR government changes this the children will continue to run riot. In my days you just got the cane (and we turned out just fine) but today the police have to be involved. This is absurd people. We need to catch a wake-up. This has already gone too far.

      Jacques - 2012-02-11 10:23

      I fully agree. Teacher cannot do anything these days. Their hands are tied. And with the amount of kids (even primary school) going to school with weapons these days, I would also just stand and watch. I went to high school in Uitenhage and played rugby against Bergsig once. The next thing I saw one of the players was threatening me with a knife ON THE FIELD DURING PLAY. When I reported it to the Ref the knife just "disappeared". Would any of you loudmouths put your life on the line to stop a fight between hooligans like this?

      Johan - 2012-02-11 10:24

      I agree with you 100% The hidings we earned at school just made us better people!

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-02-11 10:25

      Agree 100%! There is just no discipline and too many distractions. Not so long ago a teacher would've broken up the fight, the headmaster would've given them each 'six-of-the-best', they'd shake hands, have a laugh about it after leaving the headmasters office and probably become friends, no more issue! The fact that a lot of parents these days (especially older parents of minors) got hidings when they were young and get frustrated 'cause they can't do the same to their kids. As long as the cane is used within reason and when really deserved I say bring it back!

      Leon - 2012-02-11 18:23

      Carlin, I agree totally. Thos who have read Lord of the flies or at least seen the movie will understand that the children depicted ran the island unguided by the morals that is cultivated on the road to adulthood (in most people). However; if these children did not have respect for adults because the state disempowered adults as it currently does; the book would have ended very differently.

  • Sphiwe - 2012-02-11 10:20

    Is it in a teacher's job description to stop fighs at school? Teachers are not intermediators or referees. They only teach. At the end of the year we want to see how they have executed their core functions of teaching not intemediating stupid and childish fights.

      Rudi - 2012-02-11 11:07

      I have to disagree Sphiwe. It is the responsability of teachers to keep pupils safe at school. Schools where teachers have a attitude of "teach only" will be a horrid place.

      Deon - 2012-02-11 12:33

      rudy - are the teachers there to show the kids discipline, manners, respect and ethics and morals? They're there to EDUCATE and hopefully succeed with some of the brats that have to attend schools. What else are they suppose to do..? Id like o see you "teach' for more than a day and then listen to your comments

  • daniel.oosthuizen - 2012-02-11 10:20

    Yet again the media has over-sensationalised a story and made a teacher look bad so the story gets publicity. The truth of the matter is, you wouldn't want to get involved in any of those kind of fights that go on at schools on a daily basis. Truth be told - I wouldn't have interfered either if I was him.

      Brigitte - 2012-02-11 16:00

      true! I once was on duty when 2 rather large Gr7 boys got into a very physical fight. As a woman, I was completely powerless to stop them. i blew my police issue whistle, it achieved nothing. I stepped forward to intervene and suddenly realised they would flatten me in their fury. All I could do was summon a male teacher. While waiting, I sprayed them with water! It worked!

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-02-11 10:33

    I have not seen the video but, for the teacher to intervene would have meant becoming physical with the pupils. Only yesterday another teacher was vilified for becoming physical with an obnoxious pupil at another school. I think there should be clearer disciplinary policies and guidlines within the department. One cannot blame everything on the teachers. In this case an investigation should reveal the aggressor and he/she should be expelled from the school. Should no clear culprit be identified, both should receive a caning which will not be forgotten soon.

      Rudi - 2012-02-11 10:54

      Policy seldom if ever change behaviour.

      carpejugulim - 2012-02-11 11:55

      believe me it is incredibly difficult to expel a pupil from any school

  • meredith.r.pollock - 2012-02-11 10:42

    This is why there is so much crap and crime in this country because no one is willing to step in when there is something going on that shouldn't be going on.. And just so by the way just last weekend 2 of my neighbours got into a rip rouring fight just after 1am in the morning, woke up the entire bloody neighbourhood but no one would step in because everyone is too damn gutless, and yes I stepped in & it eventually it got sorted out and we could all go back to our freakin beds. I think people in todays society are too damn gutless but then they want to complain bitch and moan... Stop complaining about the crime and the behaviour in schools etc etc until you actually prepared to step up and do something to improve it.. Watching it does not help or improve anything!!!!

      Garth - 2012-02-11 11:57

      `Ferris Bueller, you're my hero.'

      Gail - 2012-02-11 16:02

      I stepped up once and almost got taken to court by the parent for doing so. The entitlement generation are the parents of these kids and the kids are either ignored or paid off with expensive electronic toys and holidays abroad etc. It is common practice for parents to take their kids out of school for a week or two during term because their timeshare falls during that time and they are entitled to take their timeshre when it suits them. Never mind the fact that their child is a special need child who can't keep on task when the child is in class. On their return when the child has a whole lot of work to make up these parents will complain that the workload is too heavy.

      meredith.r.pollock - 2012-02-11 18:42

      Yeah Garth I see you have quite a lot to say on most comments, at least some of us aren't to cowardly to stand up and do something. At least some of us actually walk the talk...

  • Jerry - 2012-02-11 10:44

    When it comes to school children who cannot be told a thing because they a protected by law, teachers must not be blamed. I grow up knowing that when you fight and you see an elderly person you stop not even the teacher. Today key kiss and do all sort infront of old people without fear. they can insult each other without worry about who is next to them. The teacher clearly told them to get out not to disturb those who wanted to learn but hell not they wanted attendtion from other students and movie as an addition which was made by cellphone. It beats me why cellphone at school during lessons if not the BBF or all those faceboo issues during school. My brother was threatened by a grde 7 student who knifed another student despite him bloking the knive. Now my brother must look behind his back for a young boy who will kill him and he has two kids and wife plus bond to pay. Is this what teachers must go throught to proof they a the RAMBOs of today? If the poor teacher was to intervine and beatup the student the video will show hime feasting on the student and what? Please lets be supportive as parent and brothers and nopt forget some of us might not be teachers but our parents,sisters and brothers are

  • Lucky Manaswe - 2012-02-11 10:45

    Keep on watching teacher but next time call the cops. These lil brats are dangerous, if a 13 year old can poison his own mother don't u think it will be easy for him to give a teacher a warm klap? These brats have too many rights, they can't be disciplined at home by their own parents but we expect a teacher to discipline them.

      Wendy - 2012-02-11 12:04

      Lucky right on .. discipline is the job of the parents. We send them to school to be educated academically and in sport.

      Phill - 2012-02-11 14:45

      You have a point. And they know the law is on their side because they are under age.But even if you are killed by an underaged brat you still get buried.

  • pjsawers - 2012-02-11 10:46

    As I qualified teacher working abroad, it is so sad the cornerstone of our country is falling apart. There are glaring reasons for this some being the lack of professionalism in the field, the restrictions placed on teachers in terms of displine and the low salaries paid to teachers. All of these combined and many others, it is sad that such a promising and well structured education system can come crashing down.

  • Christo - 2012-02-11 10:47

    Saag Uitenhage. Lekker in die BOS ne??? Grow up!!!!!

      Ian Kekana - 2012-02-11 11:21

      ds kids are bad kids

  • Hector - 2012-02-11 10:59

    If he had tried to stop them he would be accused of assaulting both the boys ... Bugger that, let the little thugs carry on....

  • Jeslin Bekker - 2012-02-11 11:01

    Laat hulle mekaar maar vrek maak. Geen dissipliene nie dis more, oormore se rowers,moordenaars, en verkragters.

  • Trevor - 2012-02-11 11:13

    Love the way people are hammering the teacher forgetting the BOYS started the fighting...NOT the teacher AND in the present climate, the teacher is damned if he does, damned if he does not. He touches the kids then what, push's apart and injures one then, suspension, legal I don't blame him...our education system is to blame...wait till government brings into law that you may NOT spank your child even at's coming...

  • Yui - 2012-02-11 11:21

    i disagree does not give the teacher the right to watch, the teacher is at fault, if you see someone caught in a fire, getting mugged, raped, hi-jacked are you going to just stand and watch or will you ty to help or get help

      Gail - 2012-02-11 16:13

      You are obviously part of the problem here and would be the sort of parent who blamed the school if your child was punished or expelled for bringing drugs to school. Been there and done that as the teacher on the receiving end and I am an old teacher past menopause. YOU need help since you obviously have a gender issue and would back your child regardless of the offense he has committed.

  • Yui - 2012-02-11 11:25

    just cause teahers do not have the right to use corporal punishment does not give them the right to name call and verbally abuse our learners. you will be amazed at the crap that teachers are allowed to get away with, and the principals are more of a sissy than the teachers

      Gail - 2012-02-11 16:15

      So this teacher left the one kid to half murder the other and it is the teachers fault. Where did the kid see this kind of behaviour I wonder if not at home or in the streets where they had no business to be. Bet you are a gang member.

  • Piston - 2012-02-11 11:30

    Crazy stuff. What happened to if two boys want to fight ...go ahead. Here's the boxing gloves and a demarcated area. The rules are explained. No loss of face to lose either. The whole school watches. Still want to fight? If a kid attacks another it should be instant dismissal....the teacher on the other hand has to be an oxygen thief!

      Grant - 2012-02-11 23:56

      Sadly that does not work either. In the 60s my deputy head was giving a talk on his passion - boxing. He was asked why the school didn't do as you have suggested. He replied, "Ja but what happens if a boy gets hurt? The school is in trouble".

  • Serame - 2012-02-11 11:46

    Its very sad that our society is turning out this way..Democracy and too much Rights that thesse kidz have..poor teachers sumtimes dont even know what right and wrong..bcos if they intervene..the parents get involved and things are blown out of propotion..and consequently the teacher get the wrong end of the stick..This democracy has taken away basic parental values,culture etc..U touch a kid at school and they tell dat its their RIGHTS to do 1,2,3...

  • Sylvester Mohloli - 2012-02-11 12:00

    call the teacher what u want, im not stopping two 'special' kids from killing each other either, not with our anti social legislation, aikhona!

  • Andre - 2012-02-11 12:02

    The teacher is also guilty of assault for "omission".

  • Yui - 2012-02-11 12:06

    these are two boys at a special needs school, fighting viciously, with all the other social problems and learning problems they must endour and overcome, they still have a lousy teacher that stands and watch, the parents would have been thankful if the teacher had to stop the fight this teacher is a coward no excuses

      Gail - 2012-02-11 16:19

      The teacher may well have been waiting for security guards to arrive because there are rules. What did you want the teacher to do, rush in with a heavy object and smack the kids over the head. You may call the teacher a coward but you are brain damaged and stupid.

      Liz - 2012-02-11 17:57

      @ Yui - yes help us to understand how you would have stopped it assuming the boys are about 10-14yrs old especially if they had lost control and were in fight back mode?

  • edandchris - 2012-02-11 12:09

    The so called teacher must be fired and not allowed back into a classroom ever again!

      Kekeletso Nakeli - 2012-02-11 14:19

      The person being discussed is a TEACHER not a referee..

      Kekeletso Nakeli - 2012-02-11 14:20

      The person being discussed is a TEACHER not a referee..

  • Marais Van den Berg - 2012-02-11 13:03

    Was the teacher male or female? And should the teacher get physically involved and only be assaulted as well? And if blood is flowing there is always the risk of exposure to HIV. But the teacher should not just have looked on! Call the principal or else knocked the brats silly with a chair at least.

      Phill - 2012-02-11 14:36

      Well said. Knock the sense out of the brats and face expulsion. Your kids will feed from maggots. That's the price you pay for being a good teacher in this ANC's land. Even SADTU, the ANC's voting fodder, won't protect you for fear of being excluded from cushy positions.

      Gail - 2012-02-11 16:24

      We don't know that the teacher hadn't done this already. And excuse me teachers are not allowed to use canes on bums but you are advocating knocking the brats silly with a chair... Very good example you'd be and have the parents sue you because after all you knew the kids were special needs.

  • Andreas - 2012-02-11 13:06

    Boys will always be boys,i used to fight five fights in five days ,So what?

  • Mogamat - 2012-02-11 14:08

    As someone who recently retired after 38 years of teaching I say the teacher was probably following the wisest course of action. If he had interfered he risked being sued for assault by the parents of both the fighting boys. The sad truth is that in our schools nowadays only the rights of students and parents are recognized while the teachers have absolutely no rights at all.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-02-11 14:12

    It is no longer the role of teachers. Schools are unsafe and those kids are always armed. Safety and Security dept. or private security firms should work together to keep our schools safe. The teachers exercised their discretion in a rightful manner by not interfering, the teach would have victims as well. I would feel bad if it were policemen who should have interfered.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-02-11 14:13

    It is no longer the role of teachers. Schools are unsafe and those kids are always armed. Safety and Security dept. or private security firms should work together to keep our schools safe. The teachers exercised their discretion in a rightful manner by not interfering, the teach would have victims as well. I would feel bad if it were policemen who should have interfered.

  • Phill - 2012-02-11 14:27

    Well, I though in the ANC's South Africa teachers do not reprimand learners (pupils) so what did you expect? Anyway, the brats will soon go back to school because they have the right to learn even if they had raped or killed each other. Do teachers have the right to work? No. So the poor teacher would be out of job if had intervened.

  • Brent - 2012-02-11 15:47

    Why should the teacher become a victim, blame the parents/or lack of parenting of these hooligans.

  • Don - 2012-02-11 16:07

    issue the teacher with a whistle. watching is participating.

  • Gail - 2012-02-11 16:35

    Somewhat off topic here but this school is in the same area as that where the man who is said to be the mastermind behind the killing of Chantelle Henning in JHb was arrested. It's frequently referred to as Dog's Patch and that is a compliment to it.

  • Sannie - 2012-02-11 17:36

    I am surprised that ANC, Zuma, Africans and malema are not featured in these comments.

      Liz - 2012-02-11 18:15

      No Sannie - there is a reference to the "ANC's South Africa" above! You missed it! If we need to always identify the country by its governing party - the writer needs to find out about the Conservative's inner city schools in London and Democrat's hectic schools in parts of Harlem in the United States! Working in some of those schools is not for the faint hearted! Balancing good discipline and upholding a rights based approach is causing havoc with discipline in schools globally.

  • Eliza.bethB100 - 2012-02-11 17:47

    What can the teacher do? There is nothing the teacher can do... If the teacher jump in to stop the fight... Pupils and parents open a formal complain against the teacher... It is good th teacher did not interfere.. Let them kill each other if they want to act like animals...

  • Zipho Ka Nomafu Myaluza - 2012-02-12 10:52

    white boys!!!!!!!

  • Craig - 2012-02-13 00:45

    The teacher could have been sued for assault... Bring back corporal punishment...

  • Pieter - 2012-02-13 03:32

    I have read a few comments here stating a teachers job is to educate. This is wikipedia's description of education: "Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next.[1] Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts. In its narrow, technical sense, education is the formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs and values from one generation to another, e.g., instruction in schools" The teacher should have stopped the fight. What is the educator teaching those boys about our customs? Stand by and do nothing? And really, the best, teachers and a lot of people can come up with is corporal punishment. Accept that it has been banished and find another way. You sound more like children than the children do. In the big world outside of school if the company you work for puts restriction and red tape in place, you better find a way to make it work, if you just sit back and throw your hands in the air, you wont have a job for long. You get paid to be an educator and to become an educator was your choice, so do the job you chose as career, and do it well. Do not stubbornly resist change, and constantly reminisce about the rod.

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