The principal of Bishop Lavis Skills School was critically injured after he was repeatedly stabbed in the chest, head, neck and shoulder, on the school premises. According to a statement by the Western Cape Education Department, the incident is reportedly related to a pending disciplinary hearing involving a learner who last month allegedly shot a fellow 15-year-old learner in the leg in a gang-related incident. Given the violence faced by principals and teachers, the department has now called on law enforcement departments to take action against gangsterism within schools.
Speaking to VOC Breakfast Beat on Thursday, Jessica Shelver, the spokesperson for the Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer explains that while no previous incident involving the principal Wayne Abrahams was reported, on the 21 March this year, a learner of the school shot a fellow learner in the leg and was suspended, pending a disciplinary hearing.
Following the incident, the principal received threats instructing him not to proceed with the disciplinary hearing against the perpetrator.
“The principal was at the school early yesterday morning and was in the foyer when he was attacked – this is a horrific accident and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” she elaborated.
She notes that in light of on-going gang related violence within communities, the department has established intervention programmes to address growing concerns.
“As a broad societal issue, gangsterism must be tackled as a ‘whole societal approach’ and as the education department there is only so much we can. The South African Police Service (SAPS) is responsible for community safety and crime control and they really have to step up.”
Shelver confirmed that the department has increased security at the school and hired four private security guards.
In addition, the Metropolitan Police has provided additional school resource officers and the local SAPS has increased visibility during the opening and closure of the school.
In order to ensure the principal’s safety, the department declined to comment on Abrahams whereabouts, as well as his current condition.