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How do we prevent violence in SA schools?

On Wednesday, a grade 11 learner was stabbed at Indwe Secondary School. This comes a few days after a 15-year-old grade nine pupil was stabbed.

A classroom. Picture: pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - Social workers believe punishment will not bring an end to violence on school grounds.

In the Western Cape, there have been at least 18 stabbings at schools in the first term.

On Wednesday, a grade 11 learner was stabbed at Indwe Secondary School. This comes a few days after a 15-year-old grade nine pupil was stabbed.

The Western Cape Education Department announced it would meet with stakeholders regarding the Mossel Bay school stabbings, believed to be gang related.

The department’s Jessica Shelver said: “The learner is in a stable condition and SAPS have apprehended the perpetrator, a grade nine learner at the school. Officials visited the school and indications are that the incident stems from gang violence and other issues in the community.”

Over the past few weeks learners have been victims and perpetrators on school grounds across the province.

Nicro's Vanessa Padayachee said punitive measures were not the solution to addressing violence in schools and instead suggested restorative solutions. She said the country needed alternatives to prisons and added that jail time was far too punitive for young people.

“Punishing them by putting them in environments that are more dangerous and has more negative influences won’t help anyone. We need to put them in environments where they can learn how to live in communities. We do not have centres.”

Padayachee said there were a number of contributing factors as to why learners were becoming more violent on the school grounds, which includes living in a violent community or home, where they’ve witnessed violent behaviour.

“We have to ask the questions. Children can be victimised, sexualised and they might have shame issues. Shame leads to aggression and anger.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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