By MARJORIE FINKEO
TOKARARA Secondary School suspended classes yesterday because parents feared their children could be kidnapped for their organs as speculation continued on Facebook.
The school said Grade 12 student numbers had been down since last week because the fear was real.
Tokarara Secondary principal Gabriel Manga told The National that the school board had decided to send students away at 10.40am because parents were calling the school to pick up their children.
Manga said the school would assess the situation and see if the students should continue classes.
“It is really up to the parents whether they want to send their children to school or keep them at home. It is for the child’s safety,” Manga said.
“Normal classes will continue for grade 10 and grade 12. It will not affect them.”
Grade 12 student Solomon Aplas told The National that the number of students in his class had decreased.
“Many have stayed (home) because of the fear they had from kidnapping – increased in the city,” he said.
Another Grade 12 student Abel Makele said absent students caused teachers to delay giving out tests and assignments which was dragging the whole process of term two assessment schedules.
“Our education is a priority and authorities need to assure us we are safe,”Makele said.
Bavaroko Primary head teacher Catherine Moresi said normal classes continued at her school despite absences.
“A few students were picked up by their parents during lunch hour because of the fear of kidnapping,” she said.
Moresi said the school had 2,046 students from grades three to eight but only 970 attended classes.
“We will not suspend classes because the Education Department did not send a formal letter and police are claiming false information of the incidents,” she said. She said teachers would monitor students’ movements and encourage parents to take extra care for their children.
A parent, Carol Jofari, of a Grade 9 student at Gerehu Secondary told The National that she had stopped her child from going to school yesterday because of the kidnapping reports.
Jofari said school should now have transport to pick up and drop off students and every student should reach home safely.
By MARJORIE FINKEO