A case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm has been opened by the parents of a Grade 8 learner at a secondary school in Verulam, after the child was hit on the head with an iron rod, allegedly by the security guard.

The family said that the 13-year-old learner, who was in the middle of exams, was left traumatised by last Thursday’s incident and has not been able to sleep since. He arrived home from school with a gash at the back of his head and his shirt soaked in blood, claimed his sister, who will not be named to protect the identity of the minor. He received eight stitches to the head.

While the Verulam Police communications officer Captain Henry Kisten confirmed that charges were laid, the Department of Education has condemned the act as ‘barbaric’.

The learner’s sister claims that her brother was allegedly hit with an iron rod on his head allegedly by the security guard after he tried to pass a book to someone at the school gate. “The security allegedly thought that he was trying to bunk school, but he was just trying to pass a book,” she claimed.

Kwazi Mthethwa, spokesperson for the KZN Department of Education, who was ‘engaged’ in the matter, said: “As the department of education we condemn this babaric act. We try very hard to protect everyone within the school premises, especially learners. It hurts me very much to hear how the child was assaulted, we preach about this every day and there are people who choose not to listen and continue hitting learners in schools.
“Anyone who does this faces serious consequences. We strive very hard to keep schools safe for everyone. We will follow up on this barbaric act and investigate further,” said Mthethwa.

Both the school’s principal and chairperson of the School Governing Body refused to comment. However, the principal said that the person who hit the learner was a cleaner at the school and who is ‘sometimes’ a gate keeper. “The parents have taken the matter to the police and there is nothing we can say as the school.”

The assault victim’s sister claimed that one of the teachers took him to a nearby doctor who allegedly refused to give him treatment because his father was unemployed won’t be able to pay the R600 doctor’s fee. “The teacher then took my brother home and was only given a tissue to cover the wound,” she claimed.

The learner’s 61-year-old father said: “Nothing hurts me like how the school handled the matter. My child is only 13-years-old and he was beaten like he had done something extremely wrong.

“I was very traumatised when I came home after my daughter called me and told me what had happened. The school did not even try to call me, or better yet try to help him with their first aid kit. What kind of school gives tissues to children who have open wounds and send them home?

“Anything could have happened to my son. If I was told immediately when it happened we could have quickly rushed him to the doctor for help. I am really hurt by how the school handled the matter, if it was the principal’s son the matter would have been handled differently,” said the father.

Captain Kisten confirmed that a case of assault GBH was being investigated. “The learner was assaulted by the school’s security guard with a metal rod on his head. The reason for the assault is because the security guard saw the learner standing by the main gate and he thought the learner was trying to run away from the school,” said Kisten.

The learner was due to write his life orientation exam the next day but could not make it to school because of his injury. “He was in a lot of pain and did not sleep all night,” said his sister.