Mother finds Grade 6 girl tied up in school toilet after frantic search
Cape Town – The Western Cape Department of Education (WCED) has launched an investigation after a Grade 6 Somerset West Primary School pupil was found tied up with her uniform belt in the girls’ toilet.
An irate mother posted on Facebook how she found her traumatised daughter in the school bathroom after a frantic search with police and the school maintenance team.
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said: “On Monday, a parent informed the school that they could not find their daughter who is in Grade 6.
“The parents called the police, who assisted with the search and are currently investigating. Our social worker has engaged with the learner.
“The incident is extremely concerning. The WCED has sent officials to the school to examine their security and to support the school. The school is co-operating with the relevant authorities in terms of the investigation.”
In her Facebook post, the mother writes: “My daughter was tied up in the school bathroom, Monday, September 2nd, just after a horrific week of killings, raping and kidnappings.
"After the police came, a janitor assisted and (we all) went looking. After being tied up for two hours we found her.”
“She was unharmed but traumatised and now she is afraid to walk alone at school, whether it’s to the office or bathroom. And to top it off, I informed the school principal but he just made an announcement and left for home.
“But now (the) school is making it seem like it’s nothing... after three days, no effort (has been made) to contact us. We had to contact the school, and no results.”
The post had gone viral, but among the outpouring of sympathy and support, she received a backlash from parents and school alumni over her post.
Approached for comment, she said she would make contact after meeting with the school today.
School principal Kobus van Schalkwyk said: “On Monday I was told by a pupil that a mother was at the gate looking for her daughter, and I did not have the key, but I made an (announcement) on the intercom for the child to come to her mother as I was on my way home.
“When I got home, I received the news that the child was found in the girls' bathroom, her arms tied to the toilet with her uniform belt.”
Van Schalkwyk said he reported the matter to the WCED and Safe Schools, and a counsellor was called in to speak to the child.
“The child told the counsellor that a man dressed in black had taken her to the bathroom and tied her up. We checked the security footage and did not find any evidence of such an individual entering our school.
“I have lodged a complaint with the police and handed over the footage to the police,” he said.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said: “The circumstances surrounding the case you are referring to are under police investigation. The incident occurred on Monday at a primary school in Somerset West.”
Attempts to reach school governing body chairperson Logan September were unsuccessful.