Peter Luhanga - November 20, 2022

For the second time this term, pupils at a local high school have collapsed due to an alleged ancestral sighting.

Learning was abruptly disrupted at a Table View high school on 1 November when several pupils and teachers collapsed, allegedly due an ancestral calling or sighting.

The incident at Sunridge Circle High School, which mostly accommodates pupils from Dunoon, has been confirmed by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).

“As different messages are going around about the incident that occurred, we would like to clarify that several learners and some of the educators collapsed or reported that they were feeling ill,” stated a letter sent to parents by the school’s acting principal.

“We acknowledged that we are a diverse school with many different belief systems and
this needs to be respected by all. The incident has been reported to the WCED for their support and guidance,” stated the letter.

Parents were invited to email an concerns or queries to the school to help “compile a well informed and diverse policy that adheres to all parent’s belief systems”.

“We would like to reassure you that we are managing the situation to the best of our
abilities. We have consulted with experts in the field and received guidance to minimise
the impact on academic time since we are approaching the end of year tests series,” stated the letter.

Confirming the incident, WCED spokesperson Millicent Merton said learners at the school reported feeling ill or fain following “an alleged spiritual/ancestral calling or sighting”.

Merton said the situation was contained and the WCED district officials who were at the school at the time on other business, were able to assist and advise the school management appropriately.

She said the school remained open, although many parents decided to collect their children.
No matric examinations were disrupted as the school currently only admits learners from grades 8 to 10.

She said the WCED had arranged for a psychologist and social worker to visit the school to debrief the learners and educators.

A Dunoon parent whose child attends the school and who asked not to be named in order to protect their child’s identity, said he went to fetch his son immediately after hearing about the incident.

The father said this was the second time this term that such an incident had occurred at the school and it was of grave concern to parents as the school environment was no longer conducive for learning.

“What is frustrating is that it is not the first time this kind of incident is happening at this school. My child has collapsed two times at this school. My child is no longer safe at that school,” he said.

He said learners want to be transferred to other schools but this is not possible as it is already the end of the year and there is no place in other schools. The registration period of the 2023 school year had already lapsed.

He said his child, like fellow pupils, told him he had seen a snake in one of the school rooms.

“My child needs counselling,” he said.

Another mother who also asked not to be named, said her daughter hadn’t gone to school for three days after the second incident.

“It is not a nice thing. When you send your child to school you send them to learn but they are collapsing at school. We don’t know what will happen to our children when they are in that school,” said the mother.

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