File picture: Independent Media

Kimberley - A teacher at Vaalrivier High School in Barkly West has been issued with a written warning by the Northern Cape Department of Education, following “violent behaviour” in his classroom, which apparently included the teacher throwing glasses, breaking windows and overturning desks during “temper tantrums”.

Concerned parents said on Monday that they feared for the safety of their children who attended the teacher’s classes, as they said he regularly displayed violent behaviour towards the pupils.

Pupils stated that the teacher was known to throw glasses at walls, overturn desks in fits of rage and once even broke a window after throwing a bottle at it.

He apparently also walks out of class when he becomes upset, leaving pupils without a teacher.

“This is not the kind of environment where our children feel safe. What if one of them gets caught in the crossfire and gets hit by a glass or whatever he is throwing? My daughter often comes home pale and shaking after the teacher had one of his tantrums. It is a terrible example to set for children, who might come to believe that it is acceptable to resort to violent behaviour when upset,” one upset parent said on Monday.

“He has also made racist statements to pupils, saying that he was a teacher at a school in the location. I believe he should be suspended and not be allowed near children.”

The parent said that she had arranged a meeting with the implicated teacher, where she said he had admitted to her that he had a problem with stress and was taking medication for it.

The parent added that she had received a message from the teacher’s mother shortly after the meeting, which stated the following: “My seun moet siek siek skool hou en uitgejou word deur skoolkinders. Hy mag hulle nie slaan nie en indien hy kwaad word dan is dit ook nie reg nie. Hy offer alles op, help leerders maar word steeds nie waardeer nie. Snaaks hoe mense net altyd na die slegte goed kyk maar nie die goeie mens wat hy is waardeer nie.” (My son must teach while he is sick and is then insulted by pupils. He is not allowed to hit them and when he gets upset, that is also not right. He gives his all and helps pupils but is still not appreciated. Funny how people always look at the bad and do not appreciate the good person he is).

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, on Monday confirmed that the department was aware of the situation at the school and stated that the teacher had been issued with a written warning.

“This matter was reported to our district office last week and we immediately responded, convening a meeting with the implicated teacher. Today (yesterday) we met with the principal, as well as the implicated teacher, who has admitted guilt regarding his behaviour in the classroom. We can confirm that we have issued the teacher with a written warning. The department is busy investigating the allegations relating to racist remarks by the teacher,” Van der Merwe said.

He concluded by saying that the department would monitor the situation at the school “very closely”.

“This type of behaviour jeopardises the conducive environment for quality learning and teaching,” Van der Merwe said.

Diamond Fields Advertiser