Prayers for stabbed principal

Teachers and pupils from Heathfield High picketed in solidarity with colleagues from Bishop Lavis SOS against the brutal attack on principal Wayne Abrahams.

The Western Cape Education Department has asked for prayers and privacy for a Fairways resident who was stabbed multiple times at a school he is principal at in Bishop Lavis.

Wayne Abrahams, principal at Bishops School of Skills, was ambushed and stabbed several times by two assailants at the school on Wednesday April 19.

Mr Abrahams previously taught at Montague’s Gift Primary School as well as Cafda School of Skills.

The assault followed threats Mr Abrahams received at the end of last term that related to a disciplinary hearing of a pupil at the school who allegedly shot another 15-year-old pupil in the leg on Monday March 27. The incident is believed to be gang-related.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said according to their information, the two assailants entered the school premises before 7am on the day of the attack, accosted the principal in the foyer and ran off when another staff member arrived on the scene.

He was stabbed in the head, neck, shoulder and chest.

“We condemn this vicious attack in the strongest possible terms. Any attack on a teacher or principal is completely unacceptable. An attack such as this on someone who is dedicating his life to uplifting the youth of this province, and who is trying to do the right thing in taking disciplinary action to protect his learners, shows how warped some people’s values are,” said Ms Schäfer.

Additional security guards have meanwhile been deployed at the school and trauma counselling is being provided by the department.

“We trust that police will take very swift action in finding and arresting these perpetrators. We shall then request our Department of Community Safety to keep a watching brief on this matter to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. This kind of behaviour is damaging to the education of our learners in the Western Cape, and will not be tolerated,” said Ms Schäfer.

Earlier this week, Ms Schäfer’s spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, would not provide any updates on the principal’s condition but said they were in contact with Mr Abrahams and monitoring his condition.

Meanwhile, principals of schools in the Southern Mail’s distribution area have come out in support of Mr Abrahams.

Denver Cloete, principal at Montague’s Gift Primary School and close friend of Mr Abrahams, said he is “fine and recovering”.

“We as the school community are stunned by the incident. I am emotional about it because it makes me wonder about all teachers and principals’ safety. We’re all at risk when all we are doing is giving our utmost best to teach to the best of our ability.

“This was an awakening and I hope it makes it clear to the department that we need more security at our schools,” said Mr Cloete.

Heathfield High School also showed their support when they held solidarity pickets outside the school every morning since the incident happened.

Teacher Wesley Neumann said they are outraged by the attack. “We felt it necessary to show solidarity. Teachers and pupils are left to fend for themselves because there is no security at schools. School safety should become a bigger priority,” said Mr Neumann.

No one has been arrested for the attack yet.