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Kimberley - Greenpoint High School learners are apparently scaling the school walls and have been spotted smoking dagga or visiting shebeens during school hours, according to some local residents.
Some parents have also reported escalating incidents of gangsterism and violence at the school.
On Tuesday some learners were seen clambering over the walls in order to escape through holes in the wire fences.
Residents living in the area also said they regularly see learners running up and down the zinc roof and climbing up the gutters in order to suntan on the roof, instead of being inside the classroom.
“Parents send their children to school to be taught but they are sniffing glue and smoking dagga. They wander around in the streets, drink alcohol and assault each other with their fists,” a local resident said.
One mother said she had no intentions of enrolling her children at the school because of all the rogue elements.
“I will have to send my children to a high school in town although transport will be a problem.”
Parents have also requested the MEC for Education, Grizelda Cjiekella, to intervene.
Chairwoman of the Kimberley Community Policing Forum, Gertrude Appies, stated that parents had approached her for assistance.
“We fear that this school has become a haven for gangsterism. Some learners sought refuge at my house after they were assaulted and threatened with knives. We don’t know who is responsible for the vandalism and theft of desks and chairs which were donated to the school by the Department of Correctional Services. Learners are forced to sit on their haunches and balance their books on their knees to take notes.”
She added that since the school governing body (SGB) was disbanded following allegations that they had stolen money from the school and the removal of the principal, the school has been plunged into chaos.
Elections for a new SBG were scheduled to be held on Tuesday night.
Learners, however, said that the school was a much safer environment since the police conducted regular searches. “The police remove knives and pangas that learners carry in their bags. There were gangs operating at the school but it is much calmer now.”
Spokesman for the Department of Education, Sydney Stander, pointed out that the Northern Cape was the most stable Province relating to violence, vandalism and gangsterism in schools.
“Through the school safety programme, we work in collaboration with security clusters. Schools have been stabilised by the police performing random searches and we continue to make progress.”
Stander added that the deputy principal had taken over the reins after the principal was booked off for most of the second and third terms.
“Upon her return, the principal submitted a written request for a transfer and we are processing that request accordingly. No principal of Greenpoint High School was fired.”
He added that the South African Schools Act made provision for parents of learners to elect or recall the SGB if it was not fulfilling its role or failed to act in their best interests.
“Parents or guardians who register learners at our schools make a commitment that their children will adhere to policies of the school to ensure smooth running. Parents have a duty to ensure that children do not deliberately disturb the normal flow of the school programmes,” Stander said.
“Our core role is to build upon the foundation already instilled in the child from home. Once that foundation is absent, we must partner with parents to help the child. It is therefore unproductive to play the blame game when it comes to the behaviour and conduct of learners.”
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