A KwaZulu-Natal teacher who was viciously attacked by a pupil at Chibelihle Combined School in Impendle and spent days in hospital says she has asked to be transferred to another school.
While the 24-year-old pupil was recently sentenced to 17 years in prison for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, car hijacking and attempted murder, the 31-year-old maths teacher told The Witness on Tuesday that the incident had left her physically and emotionally “scarred for life”.
The mother-of-one, who asked to remain unnamed, said she has been on sick leave since the assault occurred on August 12.
“I now suffer from constant headaches and I can’t stand for long periods of time. The incident left me traumatised. I am scared of school children and I hope I never teach at a high school again,” she told The Witness.
According to the teacher, the attack happened while she was on her way to work.
“The pupil was standing at the traffic light and waved me down. I didn’t think anything of it, so I stopped and asked him if everything was okay,” recalled the teacher.
She says suddenly, the pupil started physically assaulting her and dragged her out of her vehicle. The incident happened about 200 metres from the school.
“He flagged me down and pretended to be on a phonecall. He handed me the phone and told me that the principal wanted to speak to me.
“I was a bit confused because the principal has my number. I took the phone, there was no one on the line.”
The teacher said before she could hand the phone back to the pupil, he struck her on the head with an iron rod and she blacked out.
“I almost lost my life. That boy was determined to take my life,” she said.
She said while she was still dazed, confused and bloodied, the pupil continued hitting her on the head. “In a state of panic and confusion, I tried to start the car, but it didn’t move. I got out of the car and tried to restrain him, but he didn’t stop hitting me,” she told The Witness.
The teacher had to have stitches on her head and her left leg had a cast to fix a broken bone.
The pupil attempted to drive over the teacher before fleeing the scene in her car, which had other valuable items inside.
Fortunately, the car was later recovered with the aid of Impendle police.
“I don’t understand why he targeted me. I taught him in Grade 9 and we have never not seen eye-to-eye. I have written a request letter to be placed at another school.”
The teacher said, however, she was happy to finally get justice in the case. “Usually, such incidents are swept under the carpet.
“I wasn’t expecting that everything would happen so soon but I’m glad that it’s all over. I was shocked to find out at court that he [the pupil] is 24 years old. I thought he was 17.”
KwaZulu-Natal provincial Education Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said the pupil had “unresolved” issues with the school principal and had taken his frustration out on the teacher.
“We reiterate that there is no place for violence and other criminal acts in schools as they pose a serious barrier to teaching and learning,” said KZN education MEC Kwazi Mshengu.