An Eastern Cape school has been temporarily closed after pupils, allegedly drunk, ran amok and stoned the principal, his vehicle, the circuit manager’s vehicle and the school windows.
The pupils at Meyisi Secondary School in Flagstaff, who have been protesting for two weeks, are demanding the permanent reappointment of a teacher who has been medically boarded.
According to education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima, the level of violence displayed by the pupils left the department little choice but to declare the school unsafe.It has been indefinitely closed since Thursday.
Mtima said on Sunday he could not comment on when the teacher was medically boarded, as matters of incapacity leave and ill-health retirement were handled by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).
The learners became violent and threw stones at the principal and his car and in the process broke all the windows of the school.
“All I know is that the teacher applied to be medically boarded last year. I do not know the reasons for her application – only the DPSA will be able to give you that information.”DPSA spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba’s could not be reached for comment.Mtima said a report submitby the district director stated that the pupils had been protesting since August 1.
“The learners became violent and threw stones at the principal and his car and in the process broke all the windows of the school. This happened while those against the protest tried to calm the situation down, but a fight between the two sides ensued,” said Mtima.
A meeting attended by the local traditional leader, teachers’ unions and police failed to defuse the pupils’ anger. “Some of the learners, who appeared to be drunk, became violent during the meeting [and] they overpowered even the police who were present and went on to throw stones at the district director’s vehicle,” Mtima said.
The school had been declared unsafe for learning and subsequently closed indefinitely.
Mtima said the cost of the damage was yet to be assessed.
A meeting between officials, teacher unions, traditional leaders and police is planned for Tuesday to try solve the issue.