My wife is head of department for the junior phase at a school that provides education to children with all kinds of disabilities, from A.D.D. to cerebral palsy, down syndrome and autism.
The boy was battling with his reading and the way I understand, he had made a lot of progress in his speech and reading. He tried so hard that day when he read to my wife, and he did so well, that she praised him and gave him a gold star for doing so well. When he saw the gold star and that teacher Charlaine was so happy with the way that he read, he beamed from ear to ear. With his angelic little face, he beamed with pride at his accomplishment. At moments like these, my wife also feels that she is accomplishing something with these little ones that can sometimes be very difficult to handle.
Then, suddenly, on Friday--22 May 2009--the news came that the mother had attempted a family suicide. She was a captain in the South African Police Services. What drove her, a single mother, to this point is not clear yet, but she gassed herself and her 7-year old boy in her car which was parked in the garage. She survived, he did not! If she thought that life was difficult before this attempt, I can only imagine how difficult it is going to be for her when she realizes that her son was now dead, and she has to live with that on her conscience. Apart from that, the possibility is great that she will be charged with murder, or something similar.
Last night my wife told me that the kids at the school are starting to find out why little Ronnie* was no longer at school. Many of them are talking about it and my wife feels that the school should actually get all the children together to inform them about the situation and about where Ronnie was now. This will allow those that knew him at the school to have a chance of saying goodbye and to get closure about their little friend that will never be with them any more.
* Ronnie is not his real name for the sake of the family's privacy.
Read the first news article about this sad event here.