2007-04-23 : Planned school shooting misfires

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2007-04-23 : Planned school shooting misfires

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-05-09 11:15


Planned school shooting misfires

April 23 2007 at 04:53AM

By Amelia Naidoo

A potential shooting was averted when plans of exacting revenge on a teacher went awry after a school pupil accidentally shot his friend, and suspected accomplice, in the toilet of their Mahlabathini high school, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, it was reported on Sunday.

Mahlabathini police are investigating charges of attempted murder as well as of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, said Umfolozi Police spokesperson Superintendent Jay Naicker, after the incident on Friday.

The pupil who fired the weapon was in police custody and was expected to appear at the Mahlabatini magistrate's court on Monday.
Naicker confirmed that two Grade 11 pupils had been found in the toilets

This incident follows hard on the heels of the recent carnage at Virginia Tech University, in the United States, where disturbed student Cho Seung-hui gunned down six lecturers and 26 students, and himself.

The shooting also occurred barely a week after Department of Education MEC Ina Cronje held a prayer rally in Esikhawini, near Richards Bay, to pray for peace on the eve of the second school term, after a first quarter marred by acts of violence and criminal activity in a number of KwaZulu-Natal schools.

National Teachers' Union spokesperson Allen Thompson said that the official teacher death toll during school hours in northern KwaZulu-Natal since January stood at seven.

Naicker confirmed that two Grade 11 pupils had been found in the toilets, one of them in possession of an unlicensed 9mm pistol.

The shooter had apparently brought his father's gun to school and was showing it to a fellow pupil, aged 18, when it went off.

The boy was shot in the cheek with the bullet exiting through the other cheek. He was in a stable condition at Nkonjeni Hospital.

Naicker said teachers and pupils had been traumatised and needed psychological counselling.

"There was definitely a hidden agenda when the boys requested to go to the toilet after break. They were planning to shoot somebody... they used to have some friction with some of their teachers," said principal Joshua Mthembu.

No decision had yet been taken on whether the shot boy would be suspended or expelled when he returned to school.

The school governing body would meet on Monday to discuss the situation.

Thompson believed criminal elements were capitalising on the education department's lack of a clear security strategy.

"We are calling on the department to declare that it has failed in protecting us so that other people can intervene," said Thompson.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on April 23, 2007
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