When pupils at Protea Primary School in Bonteheuwel return to school today for the new school year, they will be greeted with the news that they will not be able to use their school library for the foreseeable future after it was trashed by a pupil and ex-pupil of the school over the December holidays.
Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, spokesperson for Bishop Lavis police station, the school opened a case of malicious damage to property on Wednesday January 8.
A Grade 6 pupil, accompanied by an ex-pupil who is now in Grade 9 at a high school in Bonteheuwel, were captured by security cameras entering the school premises on Monday December 30.
They broke all the locks on the door and gate of the kitchen and started a fire. The pupils broke all of the locks on the cupboards and threw all the crockery, pots and pans, food, and linen onto the floor, this according to a staff member who does not want to be named because of safety concerns.
They then wrote the gang name JCY all over the school and also wrote gang signs on the bench where the children eat their lunch, and in front of the kitchen.
As the two ran away, the caretaker saw them and called them back to extinguish the fire in which they emptied the fire extinguisher, leaving a mess on the floor.
On Wednesday January 1, the same pupils again broke into the school and this time they vandalised the garden by pulling out all of the herbs, and vegetables used to feed the children at school. They scattered it all across the garden and dug up the soil as well.
The following day the pupils again returned – this time they targeted the library. They gained access by making huge holes in the ceiling and emptied the fire extinguisher in the library, creating a huge mess. They broke six tables and chairs and took out the wiring in the one of the classrooms, broke the lights and damaged the ceilings. One of the pupils also relieved themselves in a paint bucket.
The damage amounts to
R15 000, according to the staff member.
“The faeces were visible in the bucket after they left. This is not the first time they have done something like this. Previously the same Grade 6 pupil came with 15 other boys and threw catfish in our JoJo tank and it broke, with him being the leader of the gang. They steal the fish from the canal and throw it in the tank. We really don’t know what to do with this child anymore and he is a member of this gang and so is his family,” she said.
The staff member said the pupil had previously threatened to kill her after she reprimanded him for ill-behaviour.
“He said I will be his first murder. He terrorises our pupils and staff by swearing and threatening them and he sprays his gang signs all over the school. The last time he did it in front of the Grade R class. He has been suspended twice already and attended disciplinary hearings. We have spoken to his parents but nothing has helped, these pupils are dragging the school down badly,” she said.
She said that a week before the school closed the pupil defaced the school with gang signs all over the school.
Warrant Officer Swartbooi said the JCY gang is one of the gangs in Bonteheuwel which recruits young boys of school-going age to perform their criminal acts.
The Athlone News had contacted the Western Cape Education Department for comment on the matter but received no response
by the time this edition went to print.