Editorial: ‘Feral’ pupils must face the might of the law

What kind of kids are we raising?

Two highly disturbing incidents of pupils running amok shocked South Africa this week.

On Monday hundreds of pupils from Gauteng schools marched to the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, to hand over a memorandum demanding, among other things, an end to school violence. But then they got involved in wanton violence, looting businesses and hawker stalls in the Johannesburg CBD. They even stormed a liquor store and took bottles of alcohol.

Then on Thursday police officers came under attack in a school safety search operation at Freedom Park Secondary School in Soweto. A police vehicle was damaged. The police were invited by the school principal to search for and seize drugs and dangerous implements at the school. Three 15-year-old pupils were detained for public violence and a 20-year-old was arrested for possession of dagga and a dangerous weapon.

These incidents highlight the state of our schools. Not long ago a video of a pupil attacking a teacher went viral on social media. Thoriso Thamane was killed by schoolboys in Limpopo and Kulani Mathebula was stabbed outside his Mondeor High School by pupils.

The public is quick to condemn teachers who use corporal punishment as a form of discipline but go mute when the tables turn. There are also many incidents of bullying at our schools, which have gone unpunished.

What kind of future leaders are we raising if this is how they behave? And who is to blame for their ill-discipline and misdemeanours?

Society needs to stand up to this feral element. We must not just condemn their acts but crack down hard. If they are old enough to chase away the police and loot from bottle stores, they are old enough to face the might of the law.

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July 2020

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