Blind pupil dies at North West school, SAHRC raises safety concerns

2019-01-30 05:24
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Yet another pupil has died at the Christiana School for the Blind in the North West, but the circumstances leading to the death are still unclear.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it was informed about the death on Friday and visited the school on Monday. It said it would make an effort to meet the parents of the deceased pupil.

Meanwhile, the education department said it was looking into the matter and would comment once it had consolidated information.

The SAHRC said it was not the first time it had learnt of the death of pupils in special schools in the province.

In 2010, four Christiana pupils died after a hostel room they had been sleeping in caught fire. The pupils, aged between eight and 13, tried to escape but died of smoke inhalation. Their bodies were found near the door.

In August 2015, three female pupils, aged 16, 17 and 18, died in a blaze that broke out at another school in the province, the North West School for the Deaf. Twenty-three other pupils were injured when they jumped from the first floor of the building to escape the fire, which broke out at the girls' hostel.

READ: 2 KZN pupils stabbed to death at school

SAHRC spokesperson Gail Smith said the commission previously investigated deaths at the schools, particularly looking into safety, and issued a comprehensive report which contained several findings.

The report found that the human rights of the pupils had been violated.

Recommendations were also made, which included that the head of the education department in the North West conduct a full audit of all special schools in the province to identify existing controls, training needs and risks that the pupils were exposed to, Smith said.

READ MORE: Don't leave people with disabilities behind

The commission also recommended that infrastructure be assessed in line with safety norms and standards.

Smith said the SAHRC was deeply concerned about the safety, security and right to life of pupils at all schools, particularly in special schools. 

Read more on:    sahrc  |  mahikeng  |  education  |  accidents  |  human rights
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