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Pupils locked out of city school


Although the majority of the pupils were relieved to finally be allowed into the school, others felt that they had been treated unfairly.

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A GROUP of Floors High School pupils were yesterday locked out of the school’s premises for more than two hours after apparently arriving late for class.

The pupils, who had gathered outside the school, said they had arrived at school before 8am but the security guard on the premises closed the gate before they could go inside.

“We arrived at school at 7.45am and there were some who came afterwards. The security guard on duty locked the gate as we were just about to enter the yard. He said that we were late. We told him that school only starts at 8am and that we were early but he refused to open the gate. We told him that because we were standing outside, we would end up being late for class.

“More pupils also arrived but we were all denied access to the premises. There were pupils who were late but there were also those who were early.”

The school gates were later unlocked by security and the pupils were granted access to the premises after staff saw pupils talking to the DFA.

Although the majority of the pupils were relieved to finally be allowed into the school, others felt that they had been treated unfairly.

“We have been standing here since 8am and it is now after 10am. Why couldn’t we go inside? We have missed out on some classes. This is the last semester and examinations will start soon. We cannot afford to miss out on learning,” they said.

A concerned community member, who lives near to the school, said he saw the children standing outside and asked the security guard what was happening.

“I saw the security guard closing the gate as the children wanted to enter. I asked him why he was denying them access and he said the principal gave him the instruction to do so because the children were late. It was about 8am when he closed the gate. One could see other children hurrying to school. Minutes later I saw that most of children were outside the premises and sitting on the sidewalk waiting for the gate to be opened,” the community member said..

He added that he had brought the matter to the attention of the school principal.

“I told the principal that more than half of the pupils were outside the school and asked how learning was supposed to take place if the majority of the school was locked out. He said he will do the same the next day if the children showed up late for school. I found it a bit unfair as many of the children live far from school and do not have any transport.”

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said they were aware of the matter.

“The Northern Cape Department of Education can confirm that pupils at Floors High School were locked out of school this morning following their late arrival. Discipline is a problem at the school and parents should take responsibility for their children’s actions and ensure they arrive on time at school. As a method to instil discipline, the school decided to lock the school gates after schooling had officially commenced.

“Locking the gates also assists the school to exercise control on their premises and prevents unwanted people from entering the premises.

“This school also provides extra classes for matric pupils scheduled at certain times in groups, depending on the availability of teachers.”

Van der Merwe added that the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, will visit the school on Monday in connection with the matter.