Knife violence threat to teens

Michale Albrecht died in his neighbour’s backyard, the victim of a game gone wrong. The 13-year-old and a friend were playing a stabbing game, but Michale’s wound was all too real.

This sad event once more highlights the environment in which so many teens live their lives, surrounded by violence.

Nowhere is safe. Whether at home or at school, young teens are all too likely to witness disputes being resolved with a knife. No wonder they emulate this behaviour and it becomes the topic of their games.

Violence in schools

School stabbings have become an all-too common occurrence. The violence goes way beyond the victims: reports show that as violence in schools escalates, so do levels of stress and depression in both learners and teachers.

“It’s not only the escalating violence which is the source of stress, but also increasing levels of unacceptably bad behaviour both in and out of the classroom, as well as poor parenting, a lack of resources and increased administrative demands,” says Shelton Kartun, director of The Anger and Stress Management Centre of SA.

There are a number of reasons for the rising levels of violence in schools, says Kartun:
  • Drug abuse
  • Gangs
  • A lack of strict forms of punishment as part of a disciplinary policy which has ‘disempowered’ teachers
  • Exposure to violence on television and electronic games
  • Over-crowded classrooms and a lack of resources
  • A complete lack of empathy as well as an inability to take responsibility by the learner
  • Growing up in a rough environment where violence and aggression are a way of life
  • The use of cellphones for things such as filming violent acts as ‘entertainment’ to send to others
What to do in case of an emergency
Should a stabbing incident occur, Nick Dollman of Netcare 011 advises:
  • Do not remove the knife
  • Find someone who has a first aid kit and knows what they are doing
  • Remember your own safety comes first, so make sure the situation is defused
  • Wear protective latex gloves
  • Apply direct pressure to any bleeding
  • Do not remove any bandages as this may start the bleeding again;
  • Call the emergency services and police

For more on school stabbings, go to Health24.

Whose responsibility is it to reduce teens’ exposure to violence?
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