Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Tuesday visited Hoërskool Kempton Park in Johannesburg, where a boy was filmed assaulting another boy in the school’s bathroom.
In the video, a boy could be seen punching the other boy’s head, kicking him in the ribs and wrapping him in a stranglehold before picking him up and throwing him to the floor. Other pupils looked on as the boy was assaulted.
The video has been shared widely on social media since the incident took place last Wednesday.
Lesufi said he had met with the school’s management and governing body, adding that he believed the school had managed the situation well.
“The school reported it to the district and they’re instituting a disciplinary hearing that will take place [on Wednesday] evening. The parents of the victim have opened a case with the police.”
Lesufi said the two Grade 9 pupils would be allowed to write exams, but would be kept separate.
“The SGB (school governing body) is on top of the situation. We believe the school is a safe space and that this was an isolated incident.”
Lesufi said he was confident the SGB would handle the disciplinary hearing properly.
‘Every learner should feel safe’
The school’s principal, Francois de Kock, said the school strongly condemned the attack.
“We are a school that believes in morals and high standards. Every learner should feel safe when they attend our school. Parents should have peace of mind when they send their children here.
“[What happened] is very bad. The school will address this matter and strive to be better and stronger.”
Asked what the school would do to prevent a similar incident from happening, De Kock said that – while it is difficult to prevent such incidents completely – the school would be implementing measures such as monitoring the school grounds more thoroughly, especially bathrooms.
“We also need to educate our learners in terms of social media. Children should know that they should act when they witness or film something like this. We encourage them to report these incidents and not just stand by or take pictures.”
Lesufi said children should be taught not to resolve differences through violence.
“If you do that, we’d have an eye for an eye, and that means all of us [become] blind.”
The school has employed the services of social workers and psychologists, according to Lesufi.
“These things can happen at any minute… but our schools remain safe, generally. But when you have this type of incident – act, and act decisively.”