classroom terror

WITH 12 days to go before the start of matric examaminations, classes at Stheku High School in Melmoth on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal have been disrupted.

The disruption was caused by two former pupils. The pair is known for being disrespectful.

The two stormed the school on Monday armed with knives and threatened female teachers and pupils.

After the incident, scared teachers downed tools.

The situation was so bad that the school had to be closed early that day. Yesterday, the teachers still couldn't teach.

A female teacher, who asked not to be named, said they were shocked and scared.

She said female teachers were sexually harassed as they were groped by the two former pupils.

"We fear for our lives. It is degrading to you as a teacher to be fondled by a former pupil in front of your class," she said.

She said it was not the first time that these rogued pupils had behaved in this manner.

"Last year, one of our colleagues was nearly kissed by one of the pupils as he forced himself on her and we don't know how long it will take before teachers are raped at knife point," she said.

School principal Percival Biyela confirmed the disruption of classes at the school yesterday.

"As I speak to you, teachers are not teaching. Though they are trying to be strong, you can see that they are scared and demoralised," Biyela said, adding that the situation was worsened by failure of the police to intervene.

"I personally went to them and asked for assistance and was promised that police would be deployed to patrol in the school vicinity. But it never happened.

"Today (yesterday) I went there again but the promise has not been fulfilled," he said.

Police spokesperson Captain Tinkie van Vuuren said: "There was an incident of that nature at the school, but no case was opened. Police will, however, monitor the situation closely," she said.