Parents tear-gassed at Seepapitso

It was chaos at Seepapitso Senior Secondary School in Kanye yesterday as police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at students and parents attending a meeting at the school, Mmegi is informed.

It is reported that trouble started when the school authorities explanation on how the backlog in the syllabus that piled up during the civil service strike failed to pass muster.

A parent who attended the meeting said they were told by the school authorities about the refusal by teachers to cover topics that were supposed to have been taught during the strike and government’s strategies like the new educational television programme to give remedial lessons.

“Parents were not convinced that this will work and when they asked what was being done to address teachers’ refusal to address the missed topics, the authorities were not forthcoming with information. This caused anger and later the students who said they wanted teachers and their fellow students to be given a platform to speak, got angry and blocked the main gate,” the parent said.

At the meeting, parents are said to have faulted the school administration for calling the police and not them (parents) when students got rowdy. They said this resulted in the police using brute force against their children at the school.

The students are reportedly said to have monitored all the incoming and outgoing vehicles at the gate, declaring that they were waiting for the station commander’s car to ask him some questions. “It was then that a contingent of riot police came and a battle ensued as police fired on them (students) and they retaliated by throwing stones.

As we speak, more than 10 students are here at the police station after they were arrested,” said a source. Area legislator, Kentse Rammidi confirmed that the police shot students, adding that he was at the meeting but left early to attend some other meeting. Efforts to contact the school authorities and police by press time were futile as they were said to be in a meeting.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi closed Macha Senior Secondary School yesterday after students went on the rampage and engaged in a face-off with the police. It is said riot police were kept busy by students yesterday as they refused to go to class. The students engaged the police in a confrontation that lasted for hours. “Yes we have closed it. The students were rowdy and refusing to go to class, so it was an untenable situation, hence we closed it,” Venson-Moitoi told Mmegi. She was not in a position to say when the school will be re-opened.

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