WATCH: Forgive us, KZN pupils plead after attack on teacher
In the video, which they have posted on social media, they apologised to teacher Sunday Ajibabi and appeal to him to return to school. However, Ajibabi has asked not to be returned to the school, fearing for his safety.
The assault, caught on cellphone camera, shows Ajibabi and a 20-year-old pupil grappling with one another before the pupil launches a number of punches at the teacher.
The video shocked the country and had teachers’ unions and parents’ associations calling for the involvement of law enforcement agencies to deal with ill-disciplined pupils.
The pupil has been suspended pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary hearing.
Ajibabi, a maths and science teacher, is being treated for an eye injury and has not returned to school.
In the new video, the pupils express their apologies, asking Ajibabi to return, saying they need him.
“He was not shown the respect he deserves. We promise to behave better. We are not proud of what happened, we are ashamed and we promise to do better,” said one pupil.
Another said they would develop strategies to deal with ill-discipline to ensure the incident was not repeated.
“We are already discussing campaigns we are going to develop and implement in our school. We are sorry, please come back. You are a wonderful teacher to us and an asset to the school. We need you more now as we continue with the exams. We promise that we are going to work together to become good pupils,” said another.
Speaking to the Daily News through the Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA), Ajibabi said he was humbled by the plea to return, but felt it would be unsafe for him to return to Luthayi High.
EUSA president Scelo Bhengu said Ajibabi had asked the union to get him a transfer.
“He is not happy to continue to work at the school. He feels unsafe, especially because this was not the first assault incident. There were many other incidents before. He feels that he will not be able to work there anymore. He has appealed to us to get him a transfer to another school.”
Bhengu said Ajibabi was grateful to the pupils who came to his rescue during the incident.