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Cape Town -
Schooling was disrupted at Silverstream Secondary on Wednesday after a fight between pupils and parents led to teachers refusing to return to class.
Teachers at the Manenberg school were later addressed by a Western Cape Education Department official.
Silverstream Secondary was one of five schools worst affected by gang violence, which had taken the Western Cape Education Department to court to compel it to increase safety measures.
When the Cape Times arrived on Wednesday its gates were firmly locked but scores of pupils could be seen leaving the grounds through holes in fences.
Groups of pupils chatted and laughed as they sat on the school’s fields.
Acting principal Anthony Pietersen said Wednesday’s incident had been a retaliation attack following a fight on Monday that had left a pupil injured by someone from outside the school.
Pietersen said on Wednesday morning two pupils had arrived at school with their fathers.
The fathers had “wanted to sort out” three boys who were believed to be linked to the person involved in Monday’s incident.
Pietersen said the trio had at first run away and then turned to throw stones at the fathers before security intervened. He said the incident had “traumatised and demoralised” teachers.
The Western Cape High Court had granted an interim order that additional security be provided, but it was later effectively reversed on application by the education department. At an urgent meeting between the department and police it had been decided that armed officers be deployed at schools for two weeks.
Paddy Attwell, spokesman for the Western Cape Education Department, said: “According to our Safe School’s division, pupils allegedly affiliated to different gangs fought at the school. We have no evidence at this stage to link the incident to any incident on Monday.”
Four security guards had been provided in addition to its two Bambanani guards.
“Safe Schools will provide extra security on a case-by-case basis. The police are co-ordinating patrols from a base near the school in the area most affected by gang activity. We will continue to work with all roleplayers and will act on the advice of the police.”
Barnard Mouton, a security guard at the school, said he tried to break up Wednesday’s incident. “I was alone… in the midst just trying to prevent it. We can’t tackle it alone. It’s about 900 children. We need more manpower. The gangsterism outside is affecting learning inside the school.”
The Cape Times reported on Wednesday that no gunshots had been heard at the five schools since safety measures had been increased. - Cape Times