Pupils clear forest as punishment
MBABANE - Mhlatane High School pupils were made to skip classes to clear a forest as punishment for allegedly arriving at school drunk.
The 13 Form V pupils, who are all boarders, have been ordered to clear a forest situated adjacent to Minister Hlobisile Ndlovu’s homestead and next to the Pigg’s Peak Club’s sports ground as punishment.
They are alleged to have arrived at the school drunk on their return from Easter holidays.
Principal Simeon Makhubu said the pupils’ behaviour was against the principles governing the school. They are said to have hired a kombi from Manzini and, along the way, made several stops to buy alcohol so by the time they arrived at the school, they were already drunk.
He said the pupils confessed to have drunk 20 bottles of beer while they were on their way to the school.
"It is true that there are pupils who are currently clearing the forest after they came to school drunk. The decision to punish them was taken by the school’s administration and the parents after a meeting. It was also wrong for them to hire a kombi when coming to school as this is also against the rules and regulations of the school," he said.
Makhubu said he contemplated expelling them from the hostel, but it was after their parents mitigated on their behalf that it was agreed that they be punished.
He said the rules governing the school are clear that pupils who are found to have taken narcotics or alcoholic substances have to be expelled.
Makhubu condemned organisations which blame them when they mete out such discipline to pupils.
"I am prepared to meet any of the organisations which are first to scream abuse whenever we punish pupils to come to the school as I am ready to explain anything they want to know," he said.
The school was last year reported to the United Nations for allegedly applying corporal punishment to pupils.