04 August 2009

Crackdown on school violence

Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant has vowed to crack down on disruptive and violent school pupils, who would be held accountable for their actions.


Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant has vowed to crack down on disruptive and violent school pupils, who would be held accountable for their actions.

Commenting on the latest incident -- at St. Andrews Secondary School in Elsies River -- Grant said the department would take a zero tolerance approach towards violent behaviour in the province's schools.

"The brutal attack on a learner at St. Andrews is a stark reminder of the levels of violence in our schools," he said.

"This year alone, we have already had 60 reported stabbing incidents at our schools. Last year, 80 cases were reported to safe schools. This is completely unacceptable. We simply cannot allow this violence to continue," Grant said.

The incident occurred when a teenager expelled from the school and his older brother burst into a classroom and attacked a pupil with a pipe and a sharp instrument.

The pupil was not seriously injured, but was taken to hospital for stitches.

Violent learners will be held accountable
Grant said there was a need to crack down on disruptive and violent pupils, and that they would be held accountable for their actions.

If an incident occurred on the school premises, the police would be called in to investigate, and based on available evidence, charge those involved, he said.

"The WCED [Western Cape education department] will also conduct its own investigation. Any learner found guilty of extreme violence, after due and proper process has been followed, will be expelled from the school. The WCED will provide counselling and will assist in the transfer of the learner to another school if deemed appropriate."

The use of dangerous and sharp weapons was a major concern of the department. "To protect our learners and teachers, we will be rolling out metal detectors to 109 schools this month. If a weapon is found on a learner, the prescripts of the Education Law Amendment Act (2007) will be applied, and the disciplinary actions as per the school code of conduct followed," Grant said.

"In the case of St. Andrews Secondary, I will be following this case up with the ministry for community safety to ensure that the perpetrators face criminal charges."

CCTV footage of the incident should provide enough evidence to bring these perpetrators to book. The school would also be provided with two metal detectors later this month, he said. – (Sapa, August 2009)

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