Pupils' safety should be a priority

Pupils' safety should be a priority.
Pupils' safety should be a priority.
Image: PaylessImages

We urge teachers and caregivers to ensure pupils entrusted to them are safe at all times, as the first week of school was overshadowed by tragic news of two pupils drowning.

The latest incident, in today's edition, is that of Keamohetswe Seboko, 12, who drowned in a pool while he was swimming with 60 other children at Laerskool Bekker in Magaliesburg on Wednesday.

It is not clear what happened in this case but allowing 60 kids into the pool at once, supervised by one teacher, is irresponsible.

The Bekker matter came to light after reports emerged that the body of a Parktown Boys High School pupil Enoch Mpianzi was retrieved from a North West river following his disappearance during a water activity two days earlier.

Enoch had attended the school's orientation camp at the Nyati Bush and River Breakaway in Brits, when a makeshift raft he was on with 11 other boys capsized in the swollen river.

It has since emerged that Enoch did not have a life jacket on when he participated in the water venture because his parents could not afford to buy him one, as the school had requested. However, that his parents did not provide him with a life jacket does not justify him being allowed in the water without the life jacket, that was just reckless.

When Enoch went on the raft without the life jacket on, an adult should have picked that up and stopped him. Why was Enoch's safety not prioritised?

Those organising the rafting team building are said to have asked the boys if they could swim and they all said "yes". Anyone who has ever cared for kids would have known this enquiry was not sufficient to ensure their safety; at that moment any kid would have affirmed just so they would be allowed to go on the raft with others.

The river is said to have been swollen; why would anyone take 13 and 14-year-olds rafting under such conditions? Why didn't the lodge personnel and teachers see this was a risky exercise?

We are pleased that both cases are being probed by authorities, we hope whoever was negligent and reckless will face the consequences. We also call on the department to give families all the support they need during this difficult time.

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