Thirty (30) students at Chemhanza High School in Hwedza, Mashonaland East province, were expelled following allegations of bullying and physical fighting. The incident involved the severe assault of a Form 3 student, said to be the daughter of a Central Intelligence (CIO) operative.
The incident occurred on September 17, and the school authorities initially suspended the students involved. A concerned parent discovered her sibling fleeing from a dormitory and learned that Form 4 students were assaulting younger students. She took them to her room for safety. However, she and other students were expelled on allegations of beating up the Form 3 student. The parent claimed that the student’s perceived connection to a CIO operative made her untouchable.
According to reports and voice notes shared with NewsDay, disgruntled parents expressed shock at the school’s decision to expel some Form 4 and 6 students who were preparing for their final exams. A parent said one of the children saw her sibling fleeing a Forms 1 and 2 dormitory through a window. The parent said:
"On making inquiries, she was informed that Form 4 pupils were beating up juniors and she then took the initiative to take them to her room for safety.
However, she was expelled with other pupils on allegations that they beat up a Form 3 pupil (name supplied). She is said to be a daughter of a CIO (operative) and she is untouchable.
Since Sunday, they have not been given food and have not been allowed into the study area, are not attending lessons and when we were finally alerted as parents, we went to the school to hear the story in full."
Parents criticised the school authorities for not recording the students’ statements and accused them of bias. Said one of the parents:
"There was no fairness in asking the children about what transpired. They were being asked leading questions about what they wanted to achieve."
Another parent said they were given random minutes from the hearing conducted by the headmaster and the District Schools Inspector. Said the parent:
"The headmaster was accompanied by the district schools inspector for Hwedza, Mr Parani, and he is the one who gave the instruction that we go back home with our children."
Violence in Zimbabwean schools, including bullying, physical fights, and assaults, is a serious concern. Physical fights and assaults happen due to personal disputes, gang-related activities, or other factors within school premises. In February this year, a Form Four student from Founders High School in Bulawayo was fatally stabbed by a 16-year-old pupil from Hamilton High School during a gang-related altercation. The victim confronted the attacker after he had beaten up his friend, leading to a fight between students from both schools. The deceased, identified as 16-year-old Wayne Ndlovu, was stabbed in the neck.