Sunday, 18 June 2006

Pupils: Robbers were 'visitors'

25/04/2006 22:12 - (SA)

Eduan Roos, Beeld

Johannesburg - Grade 11 pupils at a suburban school had to receive counselling on Tuesday after a gang of robbers entered their biology class, put a gun to the teacher's head and robbed them of cellphones, watches and cash on Monday.

The robbers, armed with handguns, gained entrance to Parktown Boys' High in Johannesburg about 12:45 by making a small opening in the fence around the school grounds.

Principal Tom Clarke said the men walked into the classroom in the middle of a lesson and greeted the pupils "politely".

"The pupils replied, believing they were visitors," said Clarke.

"The 26-year-old teacher (Shelly Lennox) approached them to hear what they wanted."

Clarke said the pupils and teacher received counselling.

"Lennox was even more traumatised than the children. Two of the boys didn't even turn up for school today, and concerned parents have flooded the school with phone calls," he said.

Surprised by their arrogance

Clarke said the school spent nearly R370 000 on security at the school last year.

"We have erected higher fences, installed closed-circuit television, and employed a company to secure the terrain," he said.

"But in the light of the strikes, the security guards are not as efficient as they are supposed to be."

Clarke said he was surprised by the "arrogance" with which robbery was executed.

"It took them less than four minutes before they left in same way they had come," he said.

"We have already received many more suggestions on how to make the school safer, but all these measures cost money.

"That will lead to a further increase in school fees."

Inspector Mosima Mangyani said the robbers fled on foot and nobody had been arrested yet.


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