Sober les­son for teach­ers and heads

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - Opinion -

SOUTH Africa is thank­fully rid of hu­mil­i­at­ing ini­ti­a­tion prac­tices for Grade 8s and chil­dren en­ter­ing high school to­day have in­stead an ori­en­ta­tion pro­gramme to help them set­tle in and build team spirit.

At some schools – es­pe­cially for­mer Model C ones – this takes the form of an off-site camp.

When par­ents say good­bye it is of­ten with a lump in the throat be­cause their child is now in high school.

But they do as­sume that the camp will be prop­erly or­gan­ised, well su­per­vised, and there will be no prob­lem ex­cept per­haps home­sick­ness.

What they can­not imag­ine is a tragedy such as the one that hit the Mpi­anzi fam­ily of Yeoville, Jo­han­nes­burg.

Their son Enoch, 13, was en­rolled – thanks to Gaut­eng’s on­line regis­tra­tion sys­tem – at Park­town Boys’ High and was ex­cited to go on the ori­en­ta­tion camp at a lodge in the North West.

It has been widely re­ported that a group of boys were on a home­made raft on the Croc­o­dile River last Wed­nes­day when it cap­sized. Enoch, who did not have a life jacket, was swept away – and staff only re­alised he was miss­ing the next day.

On Fri­day his life­less body was found down­stream.

The lodge offers a range of ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties and team-build­ing and its owner is a for­mer head­mas­ter so it is in­con­ceiv­able that such ba­sic safety pro­ce­dures as wear­ing a life jacket were not fol­lowed.

While we mourn with his par­ents who must have been proud to have him ac­cepted to such a “good school”, his death is a sober les­son to teach­ers and heads, that chil­dren must be su­per­vised at all times, and kept safe from harm.

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