armed parents lock out pupils

EXAMS came to a halt at Millennium Combined School in Madiba Park outside Polokwane when teachers and members of the school governing body clashed.

Angry members of the SGB, who were armed with stones and sticks, locked the school gates yesterday and refused teachers entry into the premises. Pupils had to go back home as early as 9am when parents could not be persuaded to open the gates.

The incident happened at a time when some of the Grade 12 students were due to start writing their half-yearly examinations.

The incensed parents claimed teachers at the school were playing with the future of their children.

They said they have learnt with shock that their children have never had effective learning since the beginning of the year.

The chairperson of the SGB, Lesiba Ramatsokotla, said the teachers were in most cases found gossiping in the staff-room while students were left unattended.

Ramatsokotla said teachers at the school were divided between those in favour of acting principal Simon Hanyane taking over as the permanent head of the school while others were against him.

He said most of those who did not want him claimed he was an outsider and should make way for a local candidate.

Ramatsokotla said the teachers where fighting their own battles at the expense of the students. "We don't want them anymore because they are bad influence on our children."

A Grade 12 student, who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity, said she has lost hope of passing matric this year because of the infighting between teachers.

Provincial department of education spokesperson Ndo Mangala said the department was aware of the strike by teachers and has dispatched officials to the school.