Sober lesson for teachers and heads
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.