Shootings, suicides, stabbings, tragedy: A tough first term for Gauteng schools

2019-03-14 09:23
An empty classroom

An empty classroom

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From shootings, stabbings and fights to fatal tragedies, the first term of the 2019 academic year in Gauteng has been a difficult one. 

In the latest incident, a 19-year-old Grade 11 Mondeor High School pupil was stabbed to death on Wednesday while walking to school. Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident. 

READ: 'I want my son' - mother of pupil who was stabbed to death while walking to school

Here are just a few incidents that took place at schools in the province in the last three months: 

  • Driehoek tragedy

Early in February, South Africa woke up to the news that a concrete slab had fallen on 26 pupils at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark resulting in the death of four and injuring several others.

READ: 'Their screams are still lingering in my mind -witness to Hoerskool Driehoek tragedy

The school was closed for a few days while the Gauteng education department appointed a team of structural engineers to conduct an analysis of the school premises.

  • Liverpool High School death

A matric pupil collapsed and died at the school in Benoni in February during a physical training session. 

READ: Matric learner dies at a Benoni school after collapsing during physical training

  • Dowerglen High School shooting

A 18-year-old pupil at the school was caught in the crossfire in February when gunmen entered the premises of Dowerglen high school in Erkuhuleni and started firing random shots.

READ: Teenager rushed to hospital after being hit by stray bullet at Dowerglen high school

  • Edenvale High School robbery

Two suspected robbers died at Edenvale high school in February during a robbery shootout. Another was injured. No pupil or teacher was harmed during the incident at the school. 

The school's principal, Dr Larry Harmer, told the media that a suspect came to the gate and said that he wanted to fetch his child. Upon entry, he asked for the keys to the safe. Police were alerted to the robbery, and a shootout ensued. 

Six people were arrested in connection with the incident. 

READ: Two more suspects arrested for Edenvale high school robbery

  • Teen suicide 

Also in February, a 13-year-old Grade 6 pupil committed suicide after her peers at Doornpoort Primary School pupil in Pretoria allegedly bullied her on WhatsApp.

It was reported that the pupil had allegedly distributed an image and this was forwarded on WhatsApp groups. It is alleged that other pupils teased the girl about the image.

ALSO READ: Bullying allegations surface in teen suicide in Pretoria - Sinoville crisis centre

On Wednesday, following the death of the Mondeor High School pupil, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said it was saddening that the department was issuing death certificates to parents instead of report cards.

He said the department was heartbroken by all the incidents that have been affecting Gauteng schools within the first term. 

"It hurts me so much that within the first term of the academic year, if you include Hoërskool Driehoek and include all the incidents that have happened at our schools, learners that are committing suicide and others that are attacked, it is becoming heavy on us almost daily," Lesufi said.

Lesufi said the department was of the view that systems needed to be reviewed to avoid situations that were "uncontrollable". 

"We need to review everything. We must not leave any stone unturned.  

"We need a complete overhaul and a complete review so that we can strengthen all the regulations and laws that we have to deal with this thing," Lesufi said.

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