A Gauteng school for children with special needs has been temporarily shut down following an attack on a housemother and a teacher which came after several boys were suspended for sleeping in the girls’ dormitories.
The housemother, or housekeeper, at Filadelphia Secondary School in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, was the first to be attacked on Saturday night after she found the group in girls’ hostel room. She had to be hospitalised for her injuries.
Two parents and a pupil, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the housemother was attacked around midnight by some of the boys who were caught breaking the school’s rules by sneaking into the girls’ hostel.
The attacks came following the school’s decision to place 10 boys on suspension.
On Tuesday, a decision to stop schooling and send all 300 pupils home was taken after a teacher was attacked.
Provincial education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department was aware of the incidents and that the school “has been unstable for the past weeks and we are attending to all issues raised by the school community. The department took a decision regarding the indiscipline at the school, and same is prioritised, we can confirm that MEC [Panyaza] Lesufi visited the school three times already, making sure that necessary intervention is implemented,” Mabona said.
Pupils embarked on protests on Monday and Tuesday, disrupting classes.
“The reason for the protest is that other kids claim that they were not among those behind the violence, hence they embarked on those protests,” a parent said.
A pupil at the school revealed that the suspended boys refused to leave the school premises by Tuesday as per a deadline given to them. “After the weekend’s incident was reported on Monday to the principal and teachers, the boys were suspended and told not to be at the school by Tuesday morning but they refused to go,” the pupil said.
The pupil said violence erupted on Tuesday, where a teacher was assaulted and police were called.
Yesterday, several parents arrived at the school to fetch their children, though many still remained at the school.
The school has ordered all pupils to return to the school accompanied by parents, with those in matric expected back on Monday, while other grades are expected to return next month.
Filadelphia is a public boarding school which caters for the blind, deaf and children with physical disabilities from grade 8 to matric and has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse against teachers in the past. Col Nxolo Kweza said no arrests have been made.