The Democratic Alliance demands that an immediate investigation must be undertaken by the Northern Cape Department of Education into the shocking assault of a learner at Homevale Secondary School. The grade 10 learner was beaten and kicked by a fellow learner to such an extent that he is still in hospital receiving medical treatment.
It is absolutely unacceptable that our schools have become a breeding ground for such violence. The fault lies squarely with the department. The Anti-Bullying Campaign has received a lot of attention in plans for the previous financial year, but its implementation has been postponed and delayed. The MEC for Education has promised to submit a report on the plan, but is yet to do so. Her silence and the silence of her department ultimately leads to the conclusion that the department does not care about the physical safety of our children.
Does the department want us to be known as the province with the most violent schools? That is the reputation we are fast heading for, with learners attacking each other in school hostels, throwing tear gas at educators and knifing each other in bathrooms.
The investigation also needs to establish why the principal ignored the South African Schools Act. The assault at Homevale Secondary School happened on Friday the 15th of April on school premises and was photographed by a third learner. On the following Monday, both the victim and the attacker received letters of suspension from the school principal.
No opportunity was given for the victim to make any representations. The victim has given no problems with discipline in the past.
It is outrageous that a victim is made to suffer disciplinary consequences for being physically attacked. It is nonsensical and the equivalent of saying that a victim is guilty of a crime.
In terms of the South African Schools Act, it is the prerogative of the governing body to suspend a learner. The governing body may only do so after the learner has been given a chance to present his side of events. Calling the suspension a “cooling off period”, as the principal did, does not disguise the fact that is still a suspension.
The Democratic Alliance believes that learners deserves the opportunity to go to school in safety, free from the threat of violence. We will be engaging the department on this matter until we have received satisfactory answers.
DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education
084 919 4157
076 551 0312