Angry parent turns to police after school fails to act on daughter’s assault caught on video
An angry Port Elizabeth mother has turned to the police and the Department of Education in an attempt to get justice for her teenage daughter whose brutal assault at school was captured on video.
The mother, whose name is being withheld to protect her daughter, said she had begged St Thomas Senior Secondary principal Gregory Appolis for two months to intervene after a fellow 14-year-old pupil assaulted her child, also 14.
But, the mom said, nothing was done until she went to the police and approached The Herald.
The mother said even though the attack – which included her daughter being slapped, pushed into a wall, being throttled and having braids ripped from her head – was posted to YouTube, the school still did nothing.
Appolis, however, said he had always intended to deal with the situation but had wanted to allow the pupils to finish exams before disciplinary action was taken.
He also said the school was examining the evidence.
“We needed time to ensure that everything that is being said was true, from the cause of the incident right up until anything else that has happened afterwards,” he said.
The department has, meanwhile, condemned the incident, saying it would introduce its Peace Project to the school.
The video footage of the attack, which took place on September 19, shows the victim standing in a corridor eating a packet of chips when another teen approaches her and starts shouting.
A friend of the attacker then grabs the chips from the girl’s hands before the attacker slaps the teen across the face, drags her to the floor and bashes her head into a wall.
On the floor, the attacker throttles the teen and rips the braids from her head before leaving the girl cowering in the corner.
The girl’s mother said: “My daughter was viciously attacked by one of her classmates during the month of September.
“Minutes after, she had an asthma attack which was a result of the vicious beating.
“She hasn’t been herself since the attack.”
The mother said the school had ignored the incident.
“For a good two months the school, together with the principal, did nothing about the incident.
“My daughter nearly died from that attack and still nothing has been done about it.”
Contacted by The Herald, the mother of the pupil who attacked her schoolmate said: “As much as I do not condone what my daughter has done I have reason to believe that my daughter has been a victim of verbal bullying by the girl she attacked.
“Unfortunately, we aren’t financially stable.
“At some point I couldn’t afford to buy my daughter the necessary cosmetic items she needed. Because of this, a couple of her schoolmates made fun of her.
“I guess this angered my daughter greatly, hence she reacted the way she did.”
Prior to the assault, the attacker had written a number of angry Facebook posts.
One read: “Am not letting this go until I get someone’s blood … I will beat their a **** if I have to, but I promise on my life that they’ll bow to me soon . . . I mean it when I say I wanna spill blood . . .”
Asked why it had taken so long for the incident to be taken seriously by the school, Appolis said: “During that period, there was a lot of evidence coming forth.
“We needed time to ensure that everything that is being said was true.
“Yes, we have seen the footage and the posts on Facebook and are working on a hearing which will commence soon.
“Also, exams are under way so we have to ensure that this doesn’t interrupt the pupils with their academics.”
Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg confirmed that an assault case had been opened and was being investigated.
Department spokesman Malibongwe Mtima said: “Upon learning about the incident from the media . . . we have instructed the district to visit the school and introduce the learners at St Thomas to a Peace Programme.
“The intention of this programme is to help learners change their behaviour and to help the school to implement social cohesion among learners.”
Mtima appealed for such incidents to be reported.