Fined for being late, so pupils trash school
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PUPILS ran riot at Joe Slovo High School in Khayelitsha yesterday, breaking windows and causing damage to classrooms to express anger at being fined for being late.
The pupils say they have also been fined R500 for urinating or defecating at the school when the toilets were locked.
Governing body secretary and teacher Vusi Mahobe confirmed pupils were fined at the school as a rule.
He said the rule for late-coming was instituted this year, but there was no proper consultation process.
Pupils targeted Mahobe’s car as well as the school principal’s yesterday, damaging the vehicles.
Mahobe said parents had recently questioned the rule but their queries fell on deaf ears.
“I can’t say they are lying when they say they don’t know where the money goes. What happened here (yesterday) is very disturbing. Teaching and learning time has been stolen. Our concern is that the year is ending and we don’t need this,” said Mahobe.
He said Grade 12 pupils who were writing mock examinations could not concentrate, adding that he and other educators were in fear of what could happen today.
“Our safety has been compromised,” said Mahobe.
He said there would be a meeting today to discuss how best to move forward and find an amicable solution.
The pupils said they destroyed property because the school had charged them R2 for being late. The fine recently increased to R5.
The school’s Learner Representative Council (LRC) wants this practice scrapped or they will continue protesting indefinitely, disrupting classes and damaging property in the process.
Teachers also felt their safety had been compromised and feared the protests would escalate.
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said a public violence case was under investigation but no one had as yet been arrested.
LRC member Thami Mbana said the disruption of classes started after some pupils refused to pay the latecomers’ penalty fee.
Mbana said Grade 12 pupils could not finish their trial examinations.
“We were worried about the Grade 12 students and when we asked how they were going to finish writing their exams, we were told they would be accommodated at a school nearby,” said Mbana.
The school principal could not be reached for comment.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, did not respond to queries yesterday.