School stabbing siblings still without a school

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school stabbing siblings

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Reagan Mnqayi, pictured with his grandmother and guardian, Elizabeth Barnes, does not want to return to the school where his brother, Khanyisani Ridge, died and is still awaiting admission to a high school in Wentworth. Picture: Zanele Zulu

Durban - Two Wentworth orphans, traumatised by the fatal stabbing of their brother at the school they also attended, have seen their schooling turned upside down.

Two months after 15-year-old Khanyisani “Ridge” Mnqayi was killed, they’re battling to come to terms with his death and have not returned to the school, Fairvale Secondary, as it is too traumatic for them.

Their grandmother, Elizabeth Barnes, who has been caring for them for the past decade – since before their parents died – has managed to find a new school for her granddaughter Meagan, 14, but is battling to find one for her grandson, Reagan, 17.

The lack of assistance from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education had not helped matters, said Barnes.

 Reagan was writing his penultimate Grade 10 exam paper on the day his brother died. Meagan was busy with final exams for Grade 9. The siblings did not complete their exams and did not return to school.

“I don’t like it there,” Reagan told the Daily News on Sunday.

Khanyisani was stabbed, allegedly by a fellow pupil, in November, in what friends claimed to have been a gang-related fight.

The alleged perpetrator has been charged and is expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court later this month after the case was adjourned in November for further investigation.

 After her two grandchildren refused to return to Fairvale, Barnes contacted local ward councillor, Aubrey Snyman, when schools closed last year and said she wanted them to be transferred.

However, Snyman had said the enrollment for 2013 had closed and that he could only get an update in the new year.

“Classes are so over-crowded and children might not return, so schools have a 10-day waiting period,” he explained.

He said he had written , on Barnes’s behalf, to all the schools in the area and was told to wait for the 10-day period, which ended last Wednesday.

Snyman said he was now awaiting feedback from two schools in the area about a place for Reagan.

Wentworth resident, Selwyn Sullaphen, who is a teacher at an uMlazi school, has also tried to help the family.

He said the department had promised to help with trauma counselling for the children and to move them to another school.

Sullaphen said the department’s circuit manager was to have met him and the family at Wentworth Secondary recently, but did not arrive.

Department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said Barnes should go to the district manager, who he said was aware of the situation. Once this was done, Reagan should be admitted to a school by the end of the same day, he said.

Mahlambi said Barnes should have come straight to the department last year, instead of going to the ward councillor this year.

“There are district admissions committees that are chaired by the district managers. If they go to the circuit manager, the child would be in school before the close of business.

“This would apply to all pupils seeking admission,” he said. “These children shouldn’t be favoured or struggle because of their brother’s death.”

 noelene.barbeau@inl.co.za

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