Roodepoort pupils relocated
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Johannesburg - Emotions ran high at Roodepoort Primary School on Monday morning as pupils were relocated to other schools in the district.
This follows the decision by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Friday, to close down the school following violence outbursts and outrage from parents in the community.
The parents are opposed to the appointment of the new principal.
The primary school, which is in a predominantly coloured area, has been marred by allegations of racism and irregularities after the appointment of a black head last year.
But this morning, pupils began a new chapter in their school career.
Scores of them, together with their parents, began cheering as buses arrived at 7.15am to take them to their new schools.
Their faces lit up as the vehicles came to a halt in the busy street.
In groups, they shuffled to the front in a bid to secure a spot.
Once inside, they waved and blew kisses to their parents who stood in a crowd watching.
But their eagerness was not shared by all pupils.
Some were reduced to tears as they thought of leaving their comfort zone and relocating to an unfamiliar school.
One of them of was 7-year-old Shanique Donald, who sobbed as she held her father’s leg tightly, refusing to get on to the bus.
Leo Donald told The Star that his daughter had been restless the entire weekend at the thought of going to another school.
“She is being relocated to a school in Krugersdorp and she is scared because she doesn’t know anyone there. We can’t guarantee that she won’t be ill-treated there,” he said.
These sentiments were shared by dozens of others who were reluctant to send their children to other schools in the district.
Parent Trevor Luku said parents felt unsettled because they were unsure what the future held for their children.
The move has also inconvenienced families who are now having to make after-school transport arrangements.
“We have a school here where children are comfortable and now their lives are going to be disrupted,” he said.
The police and security guards monitored proceedings, because the school has been marred by several protests in recent months.
Last week, there was a physical altercation between parents and an official from the Education Department on the school grounds, in full view of the pupils.
A few months ago, the police fired rubber bullets during one of the violent protests as parents demanded that a coloured principal be appointed to replace the current principal, Nomathemba Molefe.
In April, Lesufi closed down the school, but re-opened days later saying that there was a plan in place to ensure continued learning at the facility.