Teachers fear 'criminal' school kids
After yet another teacher was attacked in front of her pupils this week, staff and pupils at a Transkei school admit they live in constant fear of knife-wielding, gun-toting criminals who terrorise and rob them in broad daylight
Teachers at Tipini Junior Secondary School in Mthatha are still trying to come to terms with the attack on their colleague Judith Dyosi after she was accosted in her class by three youths armed with knives on Wednesday morning.
Recounting her ordeal, Dyosi said that she recognised one of the assailants as a former pupil.
“I was walking between rows in my class shortly before 11am when I saw three boys standing near the door,”said a traumatised Dyosi.
“A boy I once taught when he was a pupil here [Tipini school] opened an Okapi [knife] and approached me while the other two kept guard at the door. I ran to one side of the class and the pupils joined me but this boy grabbed my cellphone which was lying on the table.”
The three boys then ran away and disappeared in the bushy area near the Mthatha river.
Dyosi has been teaching at Tipini since 2004 but said it was the first time she had been attacked.
She said she was still in shock and was not sure if she would be able to return to work at the school again.
The police were called but the boys have not been caught.
Attempts to contact Mthatha police spokesman Lieutenant- Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela were unsuccesful yesterday as he was in a meeting. But he promised to follow up on the matter.
The provincial department of education has condemned the attack and promised to investigate safety measures to ensure that the teachers at Tipini were protected from the thugs.
Some teachers said the school had become a soft target because it was not fenced.
This is despite the school asking the department of education to provide fencing many years ago.
Many teachers claim they had also been robbed in the past while pupils had also been victims of thugs on occasion.
They said the attacks had been going on for many years.
The scared teachers have now branded their school as kwaSathana (Satan's place) with many threatening to resign from their positions.
“They [criminals] just walk into the yard as there is no fencing at the moment,”said Nceba Sobantu, a teacher at the school.
“No one feels safe here anymore.”
Sobantu said he had been robbed at knife-point by criminals in 2001.
School principal Sandile Madikizela described the mood at the school as tense. The school’’s governing council ordered the school to be closed yesterday.
“They told us to report for work at the district office and sent the pupils home,”added Madikizela.
Provincial Education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said the department decried attacks on teachers and pupils.
He said the school had been included in the department'’s list of priority schools to be fenced in the 2012-13 financial year.