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Unplaced learners disrupt schools

A group of disgruntled unplaced learners and their parents sparked a flare-up of protests and disrupted teaching at various high schools last week.

Last Thursday (6 February), scores of learners belting out protest songs took to Rusthof Secondary, where they demanded access to the school. After finding no joy after the school was evacuated to ensure learners’ safety ,the dissatisfied group chanted their way to Strand Secondary.

It is believed this protest action came after classes were disrupted at high schools in Lwandle earlier that day and a 16-year-old Rusthof Secondary School learner sustained injuries apparently after being attacked by two men on the school grounds on Wednesday (5 February).

DistrictMail’s sister publication City Vision reported parents and learners not placed in schools for the 2020 academic year went, firstly, to Nomzamo High School, where they demanded the school be closed and threatened to burn it down. They later went to Khanyolwethu Secondary School, where the protesters lured learners from their classes.

According to Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the provincial education department, they are aware of the protest action, confirming a group of protestors had moved to several schools disrupting teaching and learning last Thursday, including Rusthof Secondary School.

She said included in the group were parents claiming to have learners who are still unplaced, despite claims of having applied to schools.

“While we understand parents’ frustrations this behaviour is unacceptable,” Hammond said. “There is no indication at this stage that these parents had applied last year. The majority of these are late applications. We have also been informed this is politically motivated.

“Their behaviour towards staff and learners at some schools is not acceptable. Window panes and a security gate were damaged at Rusthof and the teaching staff felt threatened. We are currently receiving more information on what transpired, but this behaviour is unacceptable. The disruption of teaching and learning time cannot be tolerated. This kind of thuggery is appalling.”

While on the scene where protesters had gathered at the gate of Rusthof Secondary and the school was being evacuated, DistrictMail approached principal Joanne Adams for comment on the matter. But she refused to comment then.

Hammond also confirmed a Grade 8 learner was attacked by two perpetrators from the community on the school premises during interval last Wednesday.

It is believed the two attackers, believed to be armed gangsters, had gained entry to the school grounds in Broadlands Road and attacked the boy.

Police and armed security officers of the school’s security provider, Gordon’s Bay Security, reacted to the incident, along with emergency personnel of GBMed Rescue, who treated the boy for injuries on the scene, before he was transported to a nearby hospital.

A GBMed Rescue spokesperson said the very quiet boy, who was apparently assaulted with a firearm used as a baton, was found in the first aid room at the school with a fracture to his collarbone.

“He was treated and transported to hospital. His father followed. Our armed response officers, who also responded, didn’t find any suspects on the scene.”

The victim’s 43-year-old father described the incident as difficult to come to terms with, as “it is unacceptable for such an incident to occur on school premises”.

The Nomzamo resident said his child claimed to have been playing soccer at the time he was targeted. “He is battling with the trauma, but is back at school,” the father added.

Hammond said the matter was reported to police for investigation and confirmed the incident is unrelated to the protest action.

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