School violence: Shock stats

2008-10-09 00:00

THE violence that continues to pose a threat to pupils and teachers in schools around the province has pushed the provincial Department of Education (DOE) into action.

In an attempt to formulate a plan to curb this growing trend in schools, a group of experts and researchers with in-depth knowledge of the implementation of a multitude of crime prevention and victim empowerment programmes were brought in to present at the School Safety Summit, which took place at the Northdale FET College yesterday.

Attendees heard that in total, 15,3% of all pupils between grades three and 12 have experienced some form of violence while at school.

This translates to 1 821 054 pupils throughout the country.

Threats of violence are common in both primary and secondary schools, with 10,8% of primary and 14,5% of secondary pupils reporting this experience.

These snapshots were some of the findings presented by Patrick Burton, the research director at the Centre of Justice and Crime Prevention in Cape Town, from his National Schools Violence Study released recently.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Burton said while these are worrying, public perceptions have been fuelled by media reports of stabbing, shootings and murders, which he said are “isolated, high profile and sensationalised incidences”, not the root of the problem.

“I think one of the simple solutions is looking at the messaging one gives out. All violence is wrong and cannot be justified, whether in the school environment or at home. What we need to remember is that violence in schools is not done in isolation.

“The findings show that the primary drivers of violence within schools are firmly rooted in … generally violent environments.”

He said there is a need for a more fundamental series of interventions that targets parents, homes, communities as well as integrated interventions from other governmental units.

The superintendent-general of the DoE, Cassius Lubisi, said this was a long process that will be drawn into a proper plan once consultation is dully completed in order to enrich the current strategy.

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