CLINTON MOODLEY

An Overport principal’s car was trashed, and school property was damaged, when Grade 12 pupils went on the rampage because they were not given their reports on Friday afternoon.

The principal of Sparks Estate Secondary School, Rose Fredricks, was at the centre of the riot. Pupils said she had not released their reports because their parents had not paid fees. As a result, they were unable to submit their university applications in time.

Police arrested a 19-year-old matric pupil who threw bricks at officers and their vehicles. He is due to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

The pupils said they would continue their protest until they were given their reports.

A Grade 12 pupil said the student body had issued a memorandum last month asking the school for midyear reports and for applications forms to be signed.

The deputy principal had signed the memorandum in the principal’s absence on August 3.

“They did sign the application forms but refused to give us our reports. We decided to speak to the school after our life orientation paper on Friday. When we got no joy, we decided to trash the school. If we do not reach a resolution, we will continue with what we started.

“We have a right to our education. It is not our fault if we cannot afford to pay our school fees.”

Another pupil said she did not condone the vandalism. “This has been going on since Tuesday. I’ve heard from some they will not stop until the matter is resolved.”

A parent, who did not want to be named, said the pupils’ behaviour was “barbaric”.

“They are endangering lives. I do not think it’s fair to other pupils. I fear for my child’s life.”

The Department of Education criticised the pupils’ behaviour but spokesman Sihle Mlotshwa said principals were not allowed to withhold reports.

“As much as we condemn the actions of the pupils, our position is principals must not withhold reports if school fees are not paid.

“Parents are the ones who pay the fees, not pupils. Children should not be punished.”

He added that principals who refused to give out reports should be reported to the department.

Fredricks did not want to comment on the matter.

Sunday Tribune