Pupil, teacher might face rap after fracas

Alfred Moselakgomo

A grade 10 pupil knocked a teacher down with a single punch because he could not bear to see the teacher slap his classmate and girlfriend.

The pupil rushed from the back of the class and landed his haymaker on the back of the teacher's head.

"When the teacher went down he pushed him into the dustbin," claimed a classmate who did not want to be named.

The 17 year-old, whose name is known to Sowetan, was angered when the teacher slapped his girlfriend. The girl was among a group punished for not sweeping the floor at Gagatlou High in Malebitsa, near Marapyane in KwaMhlanga, last Thursday.

As the teacher struggled to get out of the dustbin, pupils laughed and cheered, attracting the attention of other teachers who arrived as the boy was fleeing from the classroom with the teacher in pursuit.

The teachers joined in the chase when the boy got away by jumping over the school fence.

Other teachers, pupils and members of the public witnessed teachers throwing stones and other objects at the fleeing pupil.

The boy returned later, armed with a knife, but fellow pupils disarmed him and he left the school premises.

Questioned by Sowetan the pupil, who confirmed that he had assaulted the teacher, said that he had been given the knife by a schoolmate but that he "was not going to use it."

A teacher blamed the scrapping of corporal punishment for the pupil's behaviour.

"The security of the teachers is at stake. The government should review the scrapping of corporal punishment in order to bring back discipline at schools," the teacher said.

Hlahla Ngwenya, Mpumalanga Education Department spokesman, said that both the teacher and the pupil might be charged.

Ngwenya said: "The teacher might be charged for returning the banned corporal punishment while the pupil might face assault charges."

The pupil has been suspended from the school pending a report from the education department's local circuit office.