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Primrose principal says he 'pretended to be dead' to avoid being shot again by 'well-trained' pupil

A primary school pupil was arrested on Friday morning for allegedly shooting his principal. Stock photo.
A primary school pupil was arrested on Friday morning for allegedly shooting his principal. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF

The principal of Primrose Primary School in Germiston on the East Rand who was gunned down by a pupil last week says he has forgiven his shooter. 

Speaking to Power 98.7 from his hospital bed this week, Noko Selepe 51, said he was glad to take a bullet for two other teachers who were allegedly also on the pupil's hit list.

The attack was allegedly meticulously planned by the pupil and took place last week Friday on the school premises.

A grade 6 pupil was arrested in connection with the incident and faces an attempted murder charge. His father, who reportedly owns a security company, was also arrested. 

“I was just asking myself a few questions with regards to the shooting because ... when I look at that child, that child has been trained [on] how to use a gun. Before he released the trigger, he made sure that he's balanced,” Selepe told the radio station during a telephonic interview. 

“It was a planned event because I didn't talk to the child [too much]. Because when there's misconduct in the classroom, it ends up with me and I just request the child to bring the parent the following day.

"[In this instance], I even called the parent myself [asking] him to please come to the school [with] your child. The reason I said that is because I could see the way the child is responding to me. He said to me 'I'm going to sort you out' and I asked myself [how] can a little boy of 13 sort out the principal,” he said.

Gauteng education MEC Matome Chiloane said during a visit to the school the boy's friends revealed the attack had been planned for a while and that a WhatsApp group had been opened for this purpose.

“The child was [allegedly] intending to shoot about three teachers. He targeted his class teacher, deputy principal and principal because these are the three people [who were] giving him problems in school,” Chiloane revealed.

Selepe explained he wasn't able to take cover in time before the boy shot him as he couldn't see him pull out the gun due to load-shedding. 

He also explained the pupil's unusual behaviour before the event, such as trying to move closer to him while waiting for his father's arrival.

Selepe said it wasn't his first encounter with the young boy as he had previously called in his father to discuss the pupil's poor performance and misconduct in class. So grave was the situation that Selepe revealed he had considered suspending him.

It's emerged that the boy shot Selepe in the stomach and had planned to shoot him in the head as well — but the principal's quick thinking saved his life.

“I pretended to be dead because he was ready to pull the trigger [again]. I couldn't ... move or do anything but with God's assistance, he turned away and as he did so, he pulled out the magazine and pushed it back in. Hence I said, the boy is well-trained,” he said.

I pretended to be dead because he was ready to pull the trigger [again]. I couldn't ... move or do anything but with God's assistance, he turned away and as he did so, he pulled out the magazine and pushed it back in. Hence I said, the boy is well-trained

Selepe said he's forgiven the boy but “cannot let him continue at the school because he's going to terrify pupils”. He added that teachers “won't want to teach him”.

Despite the severity of his injuries, Selepe said he was grateful it was only him and not the other two teachers or any pupils who had found themselves in the firing line. 

Selepe also revealed that the boy's parents had not tried to see him in the aftermath, which was very surprising to him.

Instead, he said, they had called him while he was being treated at a local hospital to ask if he had been shot. 

On whether this will affect his return to the school, he said it would not and he intends to return after his recovery.

He said the incident re-emphasised the need for collaboration between parents and teachers when it comes to the safety and security of schools.

“The collaboration between parents and teachers will help a lot because the parents will check when the child is at home [that the child] doesn't possess a dangerous weapon. And even at school, we need to strengthen security though we don't have funds so we make sure that all these troublesome pupils are searched almost every day if we have to.” 

Both father and son are due to return to the Germiston magistrate's court on March 19. 

TimesLIVE


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