A Grade 8 pupil stabbed in the neck at a Stellenbosch school on Tuesday is in a stable condition while his alleged attacker has been suspended, the Western Cape Education Department has confirmed.
"The school has indicated that the incident took place during the change of periods," said department spokesperson Jessica Shelver.
"The school is investigating what lead to the altercation. The alleged perpetrator has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing."
Russel Meiring, spokesperson for ER24, said the 16-year-old boy has been hospitalised. Paramedics arrived at the school after 11:00 and found local security officers at the scene.
According to him, the boy had been stabbed in the back and face.
"The boy was treated and thereafter transported to a provincial hospital for further care," he said.
Shelver said while there may be many socio-economic challenges in the province, "we cannot become a society that accepts or condones violent behavior or substance abuse in our schools".
"The WCED plays an important role in addressing the behaviour of our learners in terms of conflict management, mediation as well as youth development. Our youth will never progress if they are not taught essential values and behaviors.
"Our learners need to be taught from a young age what the values are that they should demonstrate towards their educators, as well as their peers."
The department implements various strategies to address school violence and safety, she said.
"Unfortunately, many of the safety risks are a result of community and gang violence which affects the safety environment of our schools. Addressing these issues goes beyond our mandate and control. We are also working together in the Western Cape government across various departments to try and address the complex social issues that give rise to young people getting involved in gangs.
"Given the high crime stats in the Western Cape, the fact of the matter remains that unless we have a capacitated police force and a functioning criminal justice system, these stats will continue to increase unabated as will the incidents of violence reported on school premises.
"All attempts to curb violence occurring in schools have to extend beyond the school itself. Parental and community support, including prevention and early intervention, are the most reliable and cost-effective ways to support school safety."
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said SAPS was aware of the incident, but "a case is yet to be reported".
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