Alexander Road pupil stabbed for cellphone on way to school

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An Alexander Road High School pupil was stabbed in the shoulder and robbed yesterday morning while walking to school.

The 13-year-old Grade 8 pupil and a friend had been followed by the attacker from the Greenacres bus stop shortly after 7am.

The pupil was taken to Greenacres Hospital and discharged shortly afterwards.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the pupil rode by bus to school every day with a friend.

“The bus drops the children off at the Greenacres bus stop and they walk to school in groups,” she said.

“In this case, the pupil was walking with a friend to school, followed by the suspect.

“It is fairly busy, with several other children walking to school and parents driving past to drop off their children.”

Some pupils walk through an alley bordering King Edward Street between the Newton Park Swimming Pool and Alexander Road.

“As the two [pupils] were walking, the man who had been following them grabbed both children from behind and demanded their cellphones,” Naidu said.

One pupil resisted and was stabbed in the shoulder from behind.

The man then grabbed his cellphone and fled.

During the scuffle, the boy’s friend ran to the school to get help, but the man had already fled by the time they got there.

Naidu said robberies targeting school pupils had been on the rise across the Bay.

“Children walking and talking on their cellphones, not paying attention to their surroundings, are easy targets,” she said.

The opportunistic crimes occurred across the metro.

“There is not a set area or even a set route. And in almost all the cases, the cellphones are stolen,” Naidu said.

Alexander Road High principal Dr Peter Manser said the pupil had received stitches and would be back at school on Monday.

Asked if there had been any other similar incidents in recent months, Manser said there had been a few sporadic robberies outside the school.

“We have done so much to stop it but it is like the criminals come out of the drains,” he said.

“We also have a free shuttle service to and from the Greenacres bus stop and to the Korsten taxi rank. I have met with the taxi operators, who now park outside and wait to ferry the children.

“I have two guards outside the school and CCTV cameras watching everything.”

Manser said the school also had a waiting area for the pupils, behind closed gates, for before and after school.

“We have tried everything and are constantly upgrading and reviewing our measures,” he said.

“I have also been speaking to our security provider and the police have agreed to do random patrols in the area.”

Education spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said he was trying to get hold of the district director for answers.