Wennie du Plessis hostel ‘unsafe’By: CHARLES TJATINDI
GOBABIS – The safety of pupils at the Wennie du Plessis High School hostel has been questioned after recent reports of child pornography and indecent exposure at this school.
Reports of a 13-year-old girl who had to go for trauma counselling after she was forcibly undressed, had her legs spread apart and her private parts exposed by female hostel mates at the school have sent shockwaves through the education fraternity in the region.
Nampa was reliably informed that similar incidents had been taking place frequently in the girls’ hostel.
However, the incidents were never reported to the school authorities, as many pupils at the school hostel fear victimisation.
According to a boarder in the girls’ hostel who wanted to stay anonymous for fear of victimisation, undressing each other and ‘modelling’ naked for the others are regular occurrences at the hostel.
“We would watch as some learners fondle each other’s private parts, take pictures and model to others late at night in the hostel rooms. Those who are often made to do that by force usually remain quiet because of threats from the bigger girls who do these acts,” she said.
Several other girls said there was no control over what they do at night, as supervisors rarely checked on them.
The mother of the Grade eight victim, who is still struggling to come to terms with what had happened to her daughter, expressed concern over the safety of children living in the hostel because of the lack of supervision.
In an exclusive interview with Nampa, the mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of her daughter, said she only got to hear of what happened to her daughter two days later.
“No one from the school called me to inform me of what had happened. I only got a generic letter some two days later, asking me to accompany my child to school the next day.
It was only when I got there that I was informed of what had transpired,” the mother said.
She said the parents of the girls accused of abusing her daughter were not present on the day, and neither was the school principal.
“It seems the school did not take the matter seriously. I was expecting the principal, as head of the school, to be present so that she could allay my fears for the safety of my child, but she was a no-show,” the woman said.
The mother has since removed her daughter, who hails from Okahandja, from the school hostel.
She expressed concern that the hostel authorities have no proper contact with parents of children in the hostel.
“Even on the application forms for the hostel, there is no provision for the parents’ contact numbers in cases of emergencies,” she said.
The Omaheke regional director of education, Natalia /Goagoses, said at a media conference last week that she was not happy with the manner in which the school handled the matter, but promised to do further investigations. – Nampa