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Kimberley - A Grade 8 pupil at Richmond High School in the Northern Cape has been stabbed to death, allegedly by another pupil at the school, while attending catch-up classes.
Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said on Wednesday that the department was shocked and saddened by the tragic event, which happened on Monday outside the Richmond High School premises.

He confirmed that the incident involved two Grade 8 pupils, both of whom were 15 years old.

“The one pupil stabbed his fellow classmate with a knife and the boy died on the scene.”

According to Van der Merwe, the school had arranged a special class for the Grade 8 pupils to give them an opportunity to complete their technology assignments.

“They were supposed to report for the class at 11am but some of the pupils in the grade, including these two boys, arrived about an hour late. As a result, the teachers were busy inside with the assignment and did not witness the fight that broke out. By the time they realised what was happening, it was already too late. The boy died on the scene in the arms of the teacher.”

According to Van der Merwe, the other boy had been issued with a suspension letter and appeared in court on Tuesday and the case was postponed to next week.

“Social workers have been at the school since Tuesday to provide counselling to the teachers and the pupils.”

He added that it was a clear indication that the current situation regarding violence in schools needed the department’s and the public’s undivided attention.

“It is important that parents play a more leading role in the school community as the home of a pupil is the first place where he or she learns morals, self-respect and discipline. Parents need to become more involved in their children’s lives and ensure that they come to school with the intention to learn.”

He added that the department was busy with the preparations for the launch of the Schools Safety Protocol, which is a collaboration between the departments of Education, Transport, Safety and Liaison, Social Development, Health and the Police.

The programme, which will be launched in the second week of October, is aimed at addressing the social ills which are currently infiltrating schools and the issue of safety.

A memorial service for the pupil who died will be held at Richmond High School on Thursday, while a prayer session has already been held at the victim’s home.

“The department has been on hand to provide the family with moral support during this sad time.”

The DA’s spokesperson on Education in the Northern Cape, Safiyia Stanfley, meanwhile called on the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, to ensure that collaborative efforts between her department and SAPS to stamp out school violence were formalised as soon as possible to prevent further occurrences.

“The incident at Richmond High School is the third incident in a space of three months.”

Stanfley said it was unacceptable that the department’s response was simply to say that parents must teach their children about applying self-respect at all times.

“For years, the department has failed to launch its school safety initiatives and it has failed to create a safe environment at schools.”

She pointed out that without safe schools and without access to safe learning spaces, pupils across the Province faced a bleak future.

“While we appreciate the fact that the department has made counselling services available, it remains another instance where it has done far too little far too late.

“The safety and wellbeing of pupils should never be taken for granted.”

Police spokesperson, Captain Olebogeng Tawana, confirmed on Wednesday that the Richmond police were investigating a case of murder following the killing of a 15-year-old boy in Richmond.

“A 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with this incident. It is alleged that the duo had an argument, which resulted in the murder.

“The investigation continues.”

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