Student beaten to pulp, left for dead
- Sefiwa Motsemeng attacked by fellow student at Mogoditshane SS
- Suff ers injuries and partial hearing loss:“Medical expenses have drained me”- mother
- Education ministry mum, school fails to account
The Ministry of Basic Education remains mum about an incident which left a form 4 student of Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School with a partly deaf ear, head injuries, bruises and hemorrhagic membrane, after being beaten to a pulp by another student on the night of 15th November 2016 at the school dormitories.
In his police statement, the 18-year-old Sefiwa Motsemeng said he was with his friend at around 2115 hours when one of his school mates (name withheld) came to ask him if he had any issues with him. “I told him I do not have problems or anything against him,” Motsemeng wrote, explaining that the culprit who was standing behind him at the time- started to slap him using both his hands. Attempts by a friend to stop the attack by a friend failed: “He came with others who I did not see because I was then feeling dizzy and weak.” Motsemeng recorded that he was surprised to be woken up by his brother who took him to the clinic around 2300hrs. “I was not swollen but I was feeling dizzy and my left ear was painful. I could not hear anything with it; it was blocked,” he wrote.
The Botswana Gazette understand the victim’s mother, Theriso Motsemeng approached the school the following day to inquire about the incident even though she was reported to the police.“The police came telling me that they received a call from the school that I was disrupting the school,” she told this publication, explaining that she was labelled a nuisance after she raised issues over the incident which had left her son in a precarious health condition.
“The police asked that I come with them in their car to the police to answer for my unbecoming behavior and I refused, telling them that I will rather take myself to the police station,” she said.
This publication understands that Motsemeng, the mother, fainted during police question and was taken to Nkoyaphiri Clinic where this reporter found her under the doctor’s observation with an above normal blood pressure. Relaying how she found out about her son’s beating, Motsemeng said she received a text message from the alleged culprit reading “Tla o tsee ntsa e ya gago. Ke e biditse,” following which she sent the victim’s older brother.
“All I wanted to know was what was going on at the school, the responsibility of the school in such matters as the incident happened when the child was in their custody,” she told this publication, saying she did not understand why school authorities did not take action following the incident.“They are quiet while I am running around footing medical bills. My son is partly deaf while my pockets have dried due to the medical bills as he has been to see health specialists. In all this, nobody is saying anything to me,” the distraught mother said.
Meanwhile, two teachers from the school, unware that this reporter was a journalist, unwittingly asked if she had seen victim when he was brought to the clinic, visibly panicky. They revealed that the school was investigating where the boarding master was at the time of the incident and when the child was taken to the clinic. They revealed that the boy was released by the school security guard. Motsemeng wrote in a statement that she received a call from Permanent Secretary, Grace Muzila, on 16th November- who wanted to know the details of the matter, also asking for an appointment with her.
This publication also understands that the boy in question was also a victim of another bullying incident on 11th October 2016 after being beaten by another student who left him with sollwen ribs on his lower chest.
A letter from Legolo Relaeng Attorneys states that the suspected student approached Sefiwa to enquire about a rumour suggesting he said he had stolen his clothes. The same letter wants to know the school’s intended cause of action as the law firm says it wants to settle the matter amicably without litigation.
Efforts to solicit a comment from the school, the Sub Region and the Regional Office were futile as they directed the publication to the Ministry of Basic Education. The ministry did not respond to a questionnaire sent on 24th November, only for its PR Officer, Oteng Mokowe to reveal, last week, that the questions were being attended to by the Permanent Secretary. This publication wanted to know the ministry’s position on the matter and whether it admitted responsibility as the student was under their care. There was an attempt to also establish causes of student fights or bullying where such cases were evident in a number of schools.