By Tereasa Dias
The Department of Education has still not arranged counselling or addressed the lack of first-aid requirements at Valencia Combined School after a 12-year-old girl was allegedly assaulted on March 4.
MBOMBELA – The mother of the girl stated that, as of Thursday morning, nobody from the department had contacted them to help the child. “She is still traumatised from the experience. She no longer goes upstairs in the house alone. This has had a severe effect on her emotionally.”
She said the principal of the school had a meeting with the family and had informed her that the boy, who was the culprit, was given a warning letter. “The previous things he had done were known to the principal. However, it was not addressed or noted. The boy got a warning, despite all the other things he had done. The principal acknowledged that he was involved in some gang and he did call the parents, but did not note the incident with the school governing body.”
“His parents have requested a transfer for him to another school because this has affected the whole community of Valencia.”
Community forum member, Jessie Moodley told Lowvelder that they had requested a meeting with the principal of the school to address issues of violence. “He told us he will only meet with concerned parents individually.”
On the day in question, the girl said she was lining up for class when a grade eight boy approached her and allegedly pushed her.
She told him not to, then walked into the classroom and sat down. Her teacher then started the EMS class when the boy allegedly came into the classroom, ran up to her and punched her in her eye.
According to the pupil, another learner intervened and controlled the boy. The girl’s mother was called to the school and rushed her daughter to the doctor. She had sustained injuries to her head and left eye.
Another incident occurred on January 8. A mother told Lowvelder that her 10-year-old son was playing with another girl on the playground of the school.
“When they were running past a loose palisade, it fell on him and cut his arm open. A teacher drove to my house in her own car and notified me that he was badly hurt and she was rushing him to urgent care for stitches. I just threw the medical aid card at her and said I’ll meet her there. I had to leave my other two smaller children with my mother-in-law and rush to urgent care.”
She said when she arrived, she fainted at the sight of the wound. “The school did not call me to ask how my son was doing or to apologise.”
She said the teacher who assisted her son was allegedly called into the office and shouted at for not following protocol and was threatened with dismissal.
“I was then notified about this and I immediately went to the school and had a meeting with the principal and teacher. I explained to the principal that I am the parent and I appreciate what she had done for my son.”
Since the incident, the mother added that nothing had improved at the school.
Education spokesman, Jasper Zwane said he was investigating why the 12-year-old girl had not received counselling. He declined to comment regarding the palisade incident or why the school lacked medically trained personnel or a guidance councillor.
Police spokesman, Capt Zandile Gwaqa stated that the charge of common assault against the boy had been changed to assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm. The boy had been released on a warning and is set to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court again on April 4.