School of violence


It's been two years since the day she held a dying schoolboy with blood pumping from a gaping wound in his neck but she still suffers from nightmares. Recently she had a bizarre dream about collecting the boy’s blood in a cup and trying to make him drink it so he wouldn’t die.

On that horrendous day when Jacques Pretorius (16) was attacked with a sword at Hoër Tegniese Skool Nic Diederichs in Krugersdorp she was unable to save his life. And for the gutsy teacher who’d had to listen to the boy’s futile “help me!” pleas eventually it all became too much.

At the end of yet another difficult school year Juanita Lomax (31) decided to end her life. She slit her wrists in a vacant classroom and like Jacques she was found in a pool of blood – but her life was saved.

Now Juanita is no longer willing to keep silent about the hell she and her colleagues are going through at Nic Diederichs, where she was once head girl and enjoyed happy school days.

She says the institution’s troubles didn’t begin with the tragic sword attack for which former pupil Morné Harmse (then 18) is serving a 20-year jail sentence. They didn’t end there either.

She tells of incidents of animal cruelty, assault, house burglary and verbal abuse that traumatised her so much she could no longer cope with learners running past her in the school corridors. She would crouch down and put her hands over her ears.

She’s not the only teacher at the school who feels under siege, she says.

“Maybe I’m just the only one prepared to talk about it,” she says dejectedly. Then she reveals how the life of someone who wanted only to be a good maths teacher has fallen apart.

Read more about Juanita's challenges in YOU, 6 January 2011.

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