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"More Security in Schools" - Motshekga

22 November 2012, 14:01
The recent shooting incident that happened in an East Rand school, that led to the killing of an alleged bully,  is another indication that things are falling apart; and they do so daily. What I have observed of our government, though, is that when troubles arise they run to the western model of 'solving' problems.

Angie Motshekga is calling for more security in schools. How has that worked for schools in America? Is more security going to address the core of the problem or be a sedative just to manage the symptoms? I do not deny that a short term intervention is required but what I am raising is that we cannot ignore the root of the problems.

When I was in primary school and high school, I do not recall bullying being such a scourge as it is now. I had a taste of both township and multiracial schools. I know there were bullies but they did not have as much licence to do what they 'specialised' in. They also had a recognition and a fear of authority. Teachers were authority figures then.
There have been drastic changes since my days in school (class of 2001).

1) We used to have assembly where we prayed to God as we began each day. That instilled in us a sense of accountability to Him on how we carry out our daily activities and how that affects others around us.

2) We had a fear of the rod. I remember that I would do whatever it took to avoid being punished. Although in high school, the rod was no longer in effect but the seeds of discipline that were sown in primary school prevailed.

3) We respected our elders, which is a natural outcome of how we were raised at home. So respecting our teachers was not a foreign concept but an organic response to authority.

I believe that taking God out of schools was the beginning of the deterioration of order. Many will disagree, which is fine. I am not here to argue on human rights and so forth but just presenting what worked and will still work if it is re-installed.

Anti-Child Abuse advocates will also not like my second point but at no point did any of my teachers misuse their authority and cross the line of discipline. I do not advocate child abuse too. What I do believe is that taking away corporal punishment and replacing it with nothing has contributed to the ill-discipline we see in our schools.

The third point addresses the issue of parents wanting to vacate and transfer their responsibilities. Schools were never designed to replace parents; and to expect them to do that is foolish. It seems parents have resolved that today's generation is this and that but they fail to realise that they are the ones raising this generation. When a parent fails to bring up a child properly, it signals their failure to understand that they are not raising a baby but a human being who will either contribute or take away from society. A parent's role is too important to be delegated to the government.

I empathise with both families. The boy who was being bullied now has to deal with the fact that he took away another human being's life. This is in addition to dealing with the psychological problems of having been bullied. To just say, let the law take its course would be to disregard the fact that he was tormented almost daily and was also a victim of crime. To disregard the consequences of the terror that he went through would be unfair.

Things are falling apart. More security in schools will not solve the problem. The very foundations of our moral fibre are in question. The solutions, at least the ones that proved to work before, have been sacrificed for the sake of human rights and being politically correct. It is a sad time in our nation.

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