Videos circulating showing violent and destructive school students at Rhodes High School in Mowbray last Wednesday have sparked serious concern and drawn widespread condemnation. The students were seemingly celebrating the end of their schooling careers ahead of their final matric examinations when things got out of hand. Students can be seen destroying school property and hurting fellow pupils, in addition to claims of car tyres being slashed. The minister of education in the Western Cape, Debbie Schäfer is now looking for further action to be taken against the students involved.
“The matric exams are coming up and many of our learners are finishing off their schooling careers…They’ve gone through 12 years of schooling to come out as responsible young adults, but unfortunately in this case, the learners took it too far and behaved completely irresponsibly,” said spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department, Bronagh Hammond.
“It was quite traumatising for some of the fellow learners that day.”
Hammond says that while they expect a certain level of excitement from matriculants during this time, the situation at the school quickly spiralled out of control.
Following the damage done, students identified as responsible for the destruction of school property have had their parents and guardians called in to the school as it pursues reimbursement.
“At the time it was a fun day and you can expect some excitement and a bit of rowdiness…we have seen it before with learners painting school dresses or throwing water balloons but this spiralled out of control very quickly and was over very quickly as well…” said Hammond.
“There were damages done to some of the windows at the school and the principal has called in the parents of each of the individual learners identified. They will be expected to reimburse the damages caused and the department is also considering other disciplinary action. The minister is extremely concerned and agitated by what happened and she wants further action to be taken.”
Students traumatised by the experience have counselling support available to them and damage to the school will not hinder the impending matric examinations, according to Hammond.
“These learners should take a long look at themselves…I hope the parents have a long talk to their children because it really isn’t the way to behave. Please, just act responsibly – you’re adults now and you’re going off into the adult world,” said Hammond.