Safety is one of the major challenges faced by numerous schools in South Africa. In many cases this is a very serious issue. The problem includes violence and abuse within school premises.
It is quite common in most South African schools for students to be abused while they are suppose to be studying – some are abused by their teachers, some by their fellow pupils, or even people from outside the school.
Victims are not only affected physically and emotionally, but also academically as it can make them apathetic about school and ruin their prospects for the future.
Mr. Vickson Mundia, Deputy Principal of Y2K College in Cape Town, says that their school only has one entrance which is monitored by security all the time to ensure that students are safe inside the building. “The security guards also perform regular checks around the school, both inside and outside the perimeter,” he said.
He also mentioned that if there is a case of violence or bullying, the college involves the parents in any enquiry and, if necessary, the pupil is expelled. Bullying, as written in their code of conduct, is a serious offence and therefore they are bound to take action if this kind of thing happens within the school premises.
“If a case of abuse or bullying is reported, we send both victim and perpetrator for counselling,” he added.
He said that even though they try to maintain discipline at school, everything begins at home, and parents need to be involved in their children’s lives. “Parents must control their children’s behaviour and introduce discipline. Some parents don’t even know anything about the school or their child’s teacher, which is irresponsible,” he said.
According to the National Youth Victimisation study 2005, done by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP), 46% of males reported victimisation, compared to 37% of young females.
However, Educational news blog@ University of Pretoria reports: about 1.8 million of all pupils in South Africa between Grade 3 and Grade 12 (15.3 %) experienced violence in one form or another while they were at school. This was revealed in a report on a recent national study on school violence by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention in Johannesburg.
This is of great concern to parents, because they feel that sending their children to school is not safe anymore, and that children in the lower grades are the ones most often targeted.
They could be hijacked or abducted for child trafficking to other countries, or they could be used as sex workers to generate money for unscrupulous people, often with just enough food to keep them alive.
Young people in South Africa are twice as likely as adults to be victims of crime and violence, and unfortunately this often occurs at school – the very place where they should be safe and protected.
Bullying on the playground
Children risk injury at school
(Health24, Ncumisa Magadla, July 2011)
Educational news blog@ University of Pretoria-http://edulibpretoria.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/study-on-violence-in-south-african-schools-shocks/
CJCP Research bulletin No.1 May 2006, http://www.cjcp.org.za/admin/uploads/research%20bulletin1.pdf