School violence is prevalent all over South Africa. Both teachers and pupils have been implicated in incidents of school violence. Cases of school-based violence have become rampant, resulting in many pupils and staff members seeing schools as unsafe places.
Speaking to Mrs Klassen, principal of Eldorado Park Primary School, she said that, “We as a school are doing our utmost best in the school to avoid violence happening. What we did is set rules, talk to children and are trying to also make sure our school is a safe zone for all the children. [This] is why we put security measures in place where security now searches the children before entering the school premises.”
Mrs Klassen added that the cause for the violence taking place may be that many experience violent acts at home or they could be suffering from mental health issues, like depression, which has not been dealt with.
Speaking on how violent incidents are handled, Mrs Klassen mentioned that depending on the case, they bring in the necessary stakeholders, like the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) or the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) if needed. In cases of bullying between pupils, parents are brought in as well, and once the problem is resolved, the school then decides if counselling is necessary for both the bully and victim.
Rihanna (not her real name), a 14-year-old Grade 9 pupil at Eldomaine Secondary School says, “With all the school violence happening, it makes me feel a bit unsafe on the school premises amongst other learners because we cannot identify… who is capable of hurting anyone of us at any time.”
“I have not witnessed any violence in this school yet since it is only my first year at this school. But the previous school I attended, Eldorado Park Secondary School, there was a case where a boy stabbed another pupil in the eye and he was expelled from the school immediately,” Rihanna says as she shares a traumatic experience she lived through.
Hazel, a 37-year-old parent of two boys at Kliptown Secondary School, told Karibu! about her experience as a mother by saying, “As a parent, school violence is becoming a pandemic… because so far I have seen about four incidents happening in schools in Soweto, which is not far from us.”
Discussing how she tackles the issues, Hazel said; “I speak to my boys to find out if they are being bullied. But it is not easy to get them to talk but also, I know my children, so it is easy to see if something is bothering them.”
She concluded by adding that “in order to reduce school violence, parents can start by not being violent towards their children as their children might think that violence it is the right thing to do to solve their issues.”
This is just one of the causes of school violence. Other reasons why children may become violent at school may include poverty that can lead to anger and discontent. There have also been cases of teachers and principals who still enforce corporal punishment, despite this being illegal. Domestic violence and child abuse and also other factors like drug abuse, xenophobia and the violent imagery seen on television and video games may also contribute. South Africa is a very violent society, and this violence is also reproduced in our schools.
This article was submitted on 2 October 2021. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article (https://karibu.org.za/violence-in-schools-leave-pupils-and-teachers-fearful/).