A Grade 10 learner, Nontobeko, appears at the door way of the classroom just as Thando, Sphiwe and Samke are about to walk out.

“Hi guys. Samke, Mr Khuzwayo asked me to tell you he needs to see you in his office,” says Nontobeko.

“We’ll wait for you at the gate,” says Thando.

Samke’s face suddenly turns grim. She is behind all her friends. They are all talking, laughing at Thabo’s joke. None of them see the worry in her face. Nontobeko is looking at Samke and notices, and she follows her from a distance as she goes to Mr Khuzwayo’s office.

Samke knocks and goes in.

“Close the door, Samke,” says Mr Khuzwayo.

Samke pushes the door, not closing completely. Nontobeko peeps into Mr Khuzwayo’s office through the gap.

“You called for me, Sir?” Samke’s voice quivers.

“You and I have unfished business, Samke,” says Mr Khuzwayo.

He stands and strides to Samke. He walks past her and pushes the door so the latch of the handle clicks.

Samke is trembling as Mr Khuzwayo creeps up behind her. She flinches and jumps away from him when he strokes the back of her thigh.

“Sir, please don’t,” Samke pleads.

“I won’t hurt you. Come here,” Mr Khuzwayo whispers.

He walks slowly to Samke, a predator tiptoeing before pouncing on prey. Samke tries to dodge him, but Mr Khuzwayo grabs her by the elbow. She fights back with all her might. Mr Khuzwayo pins her against the wall and covers her mouth with his hand as she tries to scream. But Samke bites his hand and takes the gap when he lets go. She shoves him to the side. He grabs hold of her skirt. The button rips off as she wriggles free and runs to the door.

She opens the door and runs to the principal’s office. Blinded by her own tears, Samke bumps into Mr Zwide, the school principal, as she turns the corner.

“Careful!” says Principal Zwide. He realises that Samke is crying. “Are you alright?”

Samke cannot speak because she is gasping and heaving.

“Say something! What’s wrong?” says Principal Zwide.

Mrs Khoza turns the same corner and bumps into Principal Zwide and Samke. She sees the dishevelled school uniform. “What’s wrong, Samke?”

“Mr Khuzwayo touched me. He wanted to rape me, Mam!” says Samke.

“Attend to her while I get to the bottom of this, Mam Khoza!” says Principal Zwide.

Principal Zwide is shaking with rage. He takes a few steps and stops. He is in deep thought as he comes back to Mrs Khoza and Samke.

“Mam, we had better take this child to my office. I need to calm down because I fear I might do something I may regret to Khuzwayo. I have children and grandchildren. I’d kill anyone if they did what he has done to this child.”

They all enter the principal’s office. Samke is trembling. Mrs Khoza stretches her hands across the table to hold Samke’s hands. Soon there is a knock on the door and Nontobeko walks in. She is also in tears. What has happened to Samke has triggered something in her as well.

Mrs Khoza jumps up and comforts Nontobeko.

“He,” Nontobeko starts, “He also touched me, Mam.”

Mrs Khoza and Principal Zwide listen as Samke and Nontobeko tell their stories.

“We have to call the police,” they say simultaneously.

“I want to grab him by the neck and make him pay, but we have to follow the law. If I even confront him then the case will be jeopardised. He needs to pay, he needs to locked away forever for ruining these kid’s lives.”

“I’m with you, Sir. Let’s do it the proper way. I fear if he is confronted he may flee.”

It doesn’t take long for two police vans to arrive. Two female police officers attend to Samke and Nontobeko, taking down their statements. Two male officers arrest Mr Khuzwayo as soon as Samke and Nontobeko finish giving their statements and opening cases against him.

The actual arrest is a spectacle because it is lunchtime and all the learners are out of their classes. The whole school watches Mr Khuzwayo being dragged to the police van while protesting his innocence and trying to wriggle free from handcuffs.

Tell us: What aspects of how this has been handled are reassuring to you?