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CHAOS AS WEM PUPILS BOYCOTT CLASSES

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KAPHUNGA – Chairs, cushions and steel benches were strewn in the yard at Wem School as pupils boycotted classes yesterday.

The school, which is located at KaPhunga, yesterday had to suspend classes as some learners boycotted classes as they raised concerns over their welfare. In the process, the learners were said to have thrown furniture into the school yard while also pelting some windows with stones. This incident happened yesterday at about 9am. According to the pupils, they had raised concerns over their welfare with the administration and were not happy with the responses. One of the pupils alleged that she was almost raped by males unknown to her in recent days due to the lack of security in the school.

Compound

The learner claimed that she had to run for dear life within the school compound to her dormitory as she stays in hostel. Also, the pupils supposed that they were exposed to dangerous animals in their bath rooms and in most instances they had to kill the semi-aquatic animals (bochamu). The pupils further supposed that they were not being treated fairly and their meals were not equivalent to the money paid by their guardians while another senior teacher had allegedly slapped a fellow learner. This, they claimed, was something that traumatised them as they were to sit for their examinations the subsequent day. Instead of having this challenge sorted, the learners claimed that the administration ignored their concerns.

Claimed

However, to the allegations shared by the pupils, some sources within the school disputed them. They claimed that there was a clique which had started singing political songs from morning and only exited the school when members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) arrived. This publication’s reporter found police officers from the General Duty Department and those from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) within the school compound. The police were said to have restored order after the learners had vandalised property inclusive of the tuck-shop where a tree branch was found protruding through the window. Some of the items sold at the tuck shop were strewn on the lawn of the school.
At the time this reporter arrived at the school, one of the senior teachers was taking an inventory of the damaged items, while the police were waiting for guardians of the hostel-residing scholars to fetch the pupils.

Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed that police attended to the class boycott. She said the school’s administration would deal with the matter in collaboration with the guardians of the pupils. However, an effort to get hold of the Head teacher of the school, Mbongiseni Dube, proved futile as his phone was not available on the MTN Eswatini network throughout the day. On the other hand, the pupils who were said to have been the leaders of the class boycott fled the school and hid near the Mkhondvo River. Some of them were seen with wet shoes as they supposedly walked across the river while fleeing from the police.

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