Asoka Secondary pupil assaulted during lunch break

Preshalen Chetty was hospitalised after the incident.

Concerned parents have demanded that the Department of Education implement a stricter disciplinary code of conduct in schools after a grade 12 pupil was almost allegedly beaten to death, three weeks ago.

In what is believed to have been a school-gang related attack, 14 grade 11 pupils of Asoka Secondary School allegedly caused fractures to the skull, nose, eyes and spine of Preshalen Chetty, a grade 12 prefect during the school’s lunch break.

Four of the alleged trouble makers were identified and suspended by the school’s management for a period of seven days. Mother of the assault victim, Mala Chetty said that she received a phone call from the school informing her that her youngest son had been a victim in an alleged gang related fight that broke out at school.

The angered mother said, “I tried to seek help from the school’s governing body, principal and concerned teachers who had promised that a disciplinary hearing will be held to reprimand the bullies. I waited for a long period but unfortunately the hearing did not take place.”

Chetty said she eventually lost all hope in the school taking charge and addressing the matter at hand. The distraught parent then visited the local police and hoped that the law would help her child as he was unable to walk and had numerous scratches and scars.

She said, “I was shocked to learn that the case was withdrawn from court by the magistrate due to the lack of evidence on my son’s side as the witnesses were unable to testify in court on my son’s behalf.”

Chetty further stated, “I am not a vindictive person and I have tried sorting out the problem through every network possible in my reach. I think that it is unfair when innocent families have to suffer.”
The distraught mother said that she will do what it takes to receive justice for the brutal injuries caused to her son and other children who are victims of this insidious behavior.

Commenting on the issue, the secretary of the school governing body, Charlie Pillay, said that the school is aware of the incident. “An investigation is currently taking place and we have obtained statements from the various pupils who have been involved in the alleged assault. The school was to hold a disciplinary hearing but to date, it had not taken place. The school informed us that this was a management matter rather a governing body issue,” said Pillay.

The principal of Asoka Secondary School, R Haluman, declined to comment on the matter as he needed permission from the Department of Education.

Communications officer for the Department of Education, Muzi Mahlambi, said he is aware of the matter and added that the issue of bullying is a major concern at schools. “Bullying at secondary schools has become a ‘cool act’ for pupils who seek attention. The department will be forced to involve the police with the co-operation of troubled parents to enforce changes in schools regarding this matter.”

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Velancia Naidoo

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