Lesufi visits Hoërskool President following viral video of violent fight

2019-01-25 15:28
The attack on a pupil at Hoërskool President in Ridgeway, Johannesburg.

The attack on a pupil at Hoërskool President in Ridgeway, Johannesburg. (Twitter)

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The Gauteng Department of Education, represented by MEC Panyaza Lesufi and other officials, visited Hoërskool President in Johannesburg on Friday morning to "establish facts regarding the disturbing viral video depicting learners in a violent confrontation," the department said in a statement.

In the video that was widely circulated on social media on Thursday, a boy who has a yellow backpack receives several blows to the head and body from another boy until he falls to the ground.

The attacker then walks away casually while other pupils help the victim to his feet.

Lesufi on Friday met with the principal, André Ferreira, who indicated that it was an isolated incident following an altercation between the learners, the department said.

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"The preliminary report indicates that the altercation started when the perpetrator threw a ball towards a Grade 8 learner, which was seen by the victim, who then confronted the perpetrator regarding the incident," the department said.

Lesufi cautioned against jumping to conclusions prior to the disciplinary hearing, as it would provide more details about what transpired. He also expressed "concern about learners fighting surrounded by a crowd and no one intervening to stop the incident, as this sends out a very bad message".

The learners seen fighting in the video have been suspended and are expected to appear before a disciplinary committee on January 31.

"The disciplinary process will provide more details regarding what transpired, as the learners will have an opportunity to express their side of the story," the department said.

Lesufi welcomed the school's decision to deploy additional teachers during break times.

No form of bullying, racism tolerated

"This is one of our top-performing schools, with [a] 98% matric pass rate. Hence, we were concerned when news of such an incident surfaced. We welcome the decision of the school to increase the number of educators who will monitor the learners during break time, from four educators to 10," Lesufi said.

The department said it would not tolerate any form of racism or bullying in schools.

"We have a responsibility to protect every learner," said Lesufi.

The psycho-social unit has dispatched a team to the school to provide counselling to both learners involved in the incident.

The department said it would continue to monitor the situation.

Violence in South African schools has been a cause for concern for a few years.

In its 2016/17 annual report, the South African Council for Educators (SACE) said it had received 678 reported incidents of various forms of abuse in schools.

READ: Violence and killing at SA schools: These stories shocked us in 2018

"Violence in schools is a societal problem which requires all stakeholders to play their part to create a safe schooling environment," acting director of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Phumla Williams, said in September last year.

This violence includes stabbings, rock throwing, assault and bullying – which have led to the deaths of both pupils and teachers – as well as sexual assault.

Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  johannesburg  |  education  |  bullying

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