The 16-year-old boy found in possession of a toy gun at a school in the city last week and pointing it at a schoolmate has been released into the custody of his parents.
The Grade 10 pupil from Wozanibone Secondary School in Kanana informal settlement appeared in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court.
He was released on condition that he not be found guilty or commit the same offence for at least two months.
Welbekend police spokesperson Sergeant Tsietsi Lamola said the toy gun was discovered last week during a health campaign.
The campaign was conducted by the police station’s social crime prevention unit in collaboration with the departments of Health and Education to mark National Condom Week.
He said during the campaign, a 15-year-old girl alleged that a firearm had been pointed at her while she went to fetch a chair for the event. “Through a strategic crime prevention approach it was found that the boy was really armed with a plastic firearm.
“Necessary steps were taken and procedures followed up until the boy was taken to court.”
The boy is undergoing a diversion programme for seven days where his behaviour will be monitored, and will return to court on April 23. The court will then decide on a way forward. Lamola said according to the Firearms Control Act, anything that resembled a firearm was a firearm. “We have a lot of incidents that were committed using toy guns; so this is a serious offence,” he said.
The Department of Education has since released a school safety policy aimed at enforcing a zero tolerance towards the presence of weapons, alcohol, and drugs on school premises.
The policy encourages schools to establish and maintain a safe school committee, which comprises internal stakeholders of the school such as pupils, educators, school governing body members and school security personnel.
It further states that schools must work together with external role-players which include the SAPS, metro police, ward councillors, social workers and community policing forums.