The unruly behavior, intimidation, and bullying at schools in South Africa poses a severe problem, and the Belfast Academy School is not exempt from problems. The Belfast Academy School is situated in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The school is a mixed elementary public school housing more black pupils than white students.
Parents are up in arms about the dictatorship at the Belfast Academy School. The school’s governing body has been informed of rising problems and it has still not responded. There are multiple issues at hand including intimidation, threats, and bullying of students by managing members who abuse the power. In particular, two members of the governing body, Pieter Theart and Cindy Coetzee, have been recognized as the interfering members. Parents are annoyed and will take action since the school fails to identify the difficulties.
Learners at the Belfast Academy School have now been forced to do a laborious task during breaks. The students have to wear green reflective vests, pick up trash, and shovel heaps of crushed stones onto the road inside the school yard. The students also have to perform clean up operations of the toilets and paint walls. Children as young as 15 have been singled out to perform these tedious tasks.
Parents believe that Principal Chris Kruger of the Belfast Academy School is responsible for the welfare of each learner. Kruger has been informed about the incidents, and to date, the problems have not been resolved.
Another inhuman action that is forced upon the students is when detention is given. During this time, the learners are not allowed to eat, drink, or use the toilets. Some of the children are even forced to stand upright, in the scorching sun, for the duration of the detention.
Fighting among students happens all the time, and these fights are sometimes aggressive where students are badly injured. In a recent incident, a video of a fight between students was recorded and handed to the principal by concerned pupils, who wanted Kruger to see what was happening at the school. The head of the school, along with the two governing body members, contacted the police and obtained a court order to access the phone for information. Jan De Wet, a concerned parent, contacted the police regarding this incident and was informed that a charge of Criminal Injuria was opened against his son. In another incident, a young girl was hit by an older boy for no apparent reason. When the principal was alerted, nothing happened, not even a call to the child’s parents.
It is believed that Kruger was supposed to resolve this issue. However, based on the fact that two members of the governing body were permitted to be involved in the incident, it was incorrectly managed. The incident was of no concern to the governing body, however, the principal allowed the intrusion. Furthermore, it is understood that the head is trying to stop the video from being viewed.
Concerned parents have contacted an attorney regarding this matter and they will continue to fight against the intimidation and threats against their children. While there are concerns about illegal activities happening at the Belfast Academy School, it is clear that the governing body and principal are trying to cover up the activities. Parents are annoyed and the children do not want to be in school, as the treatment received by superiors is demeaning. The children who are eager to learn and want to enjoy their school years are now forced into a situation of selective interference and tasks that are patronizing. All children have a Constitutional right to education, without adults using profane language, intimidation, and forced child labor at the Belfast Academy School. The students at the school provide their perspectives in the video below.
Opinion by Laura Oneale
Edited by Leigh Haugh
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Interview With Jan De Wet
All Article Images Courtesy of Jan De Wet – Used With Permission