A 24-year-old KwaZulu-Natal pupil has been sentenced to 17 years in jail for assaulting his teacher, dragging her out of her car and trying to run her over.Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said the department welcomed the sentence, which the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg imposed on November 25.The crimes were committed on August 12."[The] unsuspecting female teacher, on her way to work, was approached by a male learner from the same school. The 24-year-old learner from Chibelihle Combined School suddenly started physically assaulting the defenceless teacher and dragged her out of her vehicle," Mthethwa said.He said the pupil also attempted to run her over before fleeing in her car.The car was recovered after the matter was reported to the police, Mthethwa said."The teacher sustained injuries and was taken to hospital to receive medical attention. After being subjected to all due court processes, the learner has been found guilty of assault with grievous bodily harm, car hijacking and attempted murder. He has been sentenced to 17 years in prison."Safety in schoolsEducation MEC Kwazi Mshengu said school safety was a priority."We reiterate that there is no place for violence and other criminal acts in schools as it poses a serious barrier to teaching and learning."He said schools and the police shared a relationship in all communities in the province."This relationship is further strengthened by the establishment of functional school safety committees. An additional 1 500 safety volunteers have been allocated to various schools in KwaZulu-Natal."Mshengu said pupils had to adhere to school codes of conduct. He added that communities had to work with the department."The department will continue to protect the rights of all children and teachers in schools, but these successes rely largely on the collective efforts of parents and communities to work together with schools to ensure the safety of all parties."