Eastwood Secondary pupils ‘Afraid to leave the house’

A police van enters Eastwood Secondary on Thursday morning.
A police van enters Eastwood Secondary on Thursday morning.
moeketsi mamane

The matriculant who was stabbed last week at Eastwood Secondary School is still struggling to cope with the trauma as she enters the first day of her crucial Matric exams.

Camryn Sampson (17), who was stabbed last Monday when an end-of- school ritual where children pelt each other with water and other objects turned ugly, still hasn’t left her house since the incident.

The incident gained notoriety when, a day later, Hershel Fynn (18) was stabbed to death, apparently because he confronted the pupil who had attacked Camryn.

Matriculants across the country are bracing themselves as exams begin in earnest today, with pupils writing English and other language papers.

Eastwood Secondary last week bused matriculants writing a practical exam to Alexandra High to take the exam when the school temporarily shut its doors after the violence.

Tessa Sampson, Camryn’s mother, told The Witness on Tuesday that her daughter, who is the school’s deputy head girl, was “not coping well”.

“She is very stressed, and still feels guilty about what happened [to Hershel].

“She is still scared that there may be repercussions. She’s been holed up in her room and hasn’t spoken to the other children since.”

Sampson said Camryn had been for one session of counselling, but decided not to go again after not finding it helpful.

“I am worried because these exams will affect the rest of her life. She’s still afraid to leave the house.”

School governing body chairperson Roy Ram said on Tuesday exams will continue as normal at the school today. He said the situation had “stabilised” and pupil turnout is back to normal after a few tense days last week.

Clive Willows, a local psychologist, said trauma like that experienced at Eastwood Secondary could lead to pupils having to deal with poor concentration, distracting thoughts and flashbacks.

He said, however, that pupils should understand that the emotional intensity of the trauma is temporary.

“If it is happening, don’t feel too panicked. It is temporary and they should overcome it. It also depends how close a pupil was to the incident. They may have disturbed sleep and flashbacks.

“It will be a lot worse for them if they believe they will never overcome it. But they must understand that it’s a healing process, not a permanent thing. You may not forget the incident, but the emotional intensity will hopefully subside.”

A total of 790 405 pupils will take their exams this year, across 7 416 examination centres, the Department of Basic Education said. There will be 212 candidates writing from prisons.

Quality assurance body Umalusi gave this year’s exams the green light.

KZN MEC for Education, Kwazi Mshengu, will oversee the exam process at some schools on Wednesday.

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