Teachers refuse to work after pupil is killed in class

Teachers at Qhamuka High School in eMacekane, a rural village under eMpangeni, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, are refusing to teach, fearing for their lives after a 16-year-old pupil was stabbed to death in full view of his classmates.

Teachers told Sunday World that faction fights had become the norm at the school, rendering teaching and learning impossible.

“There’s barely a week that passes by without a learner being stabbed. Boy learners fight frequently over girlfriends and for the control of drug turfs inside the school. They carry pangas and other weapons.

“Teachers are also victims of the ongoing violence,” said one teacher who is not authorised to speak to the media.

Grade 10 pupil Lindokuhle Mthembu’s life was snuffed out, allegedly by an 18-year-old pupil last week. He was stabbed multiple times inside a classroom, prompting terrified pupils to flee the bloody scene.

Another teacher said it was not clear what could have triggered the deadly confrontation that had shaken the school community.

“I was called to rush to the classroom by a learner and when I arrived there was just blood everywhere. His school uniform was soaking wet with blood. He was lying motionlessly on the floor,” he said.

In January, Sabelo Khoza, a Grade 9 pupil at Ikusasalethu, a school in Inanda township, south of Durban, lost his life at the hands of another pupil. The 15-year-old had been collecting stationery at his school when he was allegedly accosted by another pupil who stabbed him.

Nhlanhla Dube, a governing body member at Qhamuka High, told Sunday World that parents had appealed for security to be tightened and for pupils to be searched before entering the school.

“The other concern is that teachers are refusing to teach because they are also facing harassment from rowdy learners. In addition to the tightening of security measures, we have also asked that police should make random patrols at school.”

Provincial department of education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the MEC was gravely concerned by the incident.

“Schools should be places of safety for both learners and teachers. The murder of a learner is unfortunate and regrettable. The department sends its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased,” said Mahlambi.

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