School Violence Increasing At Concerning Rate

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The violence at schools continues to increase at an alarming rate. In the Eastern Cape, a family has accused the Provincial Education Department of negligence following the stabbing of their son while at school.

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The Olifant family from Komani, in the Eastern Cape, stated that their 10-year-old son was stabbed in the eye by another learner at school. According to the family, the boy’s optic nerve was damaged due to the incident. 

Lebogang Motau, the Free World Initiative founder and CEO, stated that “it is sad to see that children at such a young age are having to deal with such type of violence”. Schools are meant to be safe and peaceful environments for all, however, it has come to a point where pupils and teachers are fearful of going to school. 

Motau pointed out that bullying is a serious issue at schools which needs to be addressed. She added that all schools should have a bullying policy in place, that states what is acceptable and what is not, and the steps to follow if bullying occurs within the school.

Educating learners, teachers, parents and even the community about bullying would be helpful to prevent the incidence of violence at schools. Once awareness has been created, the incidence rate of bullying and violence may decrease in schools. 

There are different forms of bullying which may occur. These include verbal, physical, emotional and cyberbullying. 

Pupils are encouraged to speak up when they are being bullied in any way so that the matter can be escalated and addressed at school. Schools are urged to take these matters seriously and to deal with the incident accordingly. 

The victim of bullying should not be the only one who receives counselling but the person who bullies should also be counselled to find out what has caused them to act in such a manner towards their peers. By speaking to the bully, it will be evident what kind of home environment they come from, what they are exposed to, and how to help them change their behaviour. 

Free World Initiative CEO stated that the incident that took place at the Eastern Cape school does qualify as a criminal case, even though the perpetrator is a minor. Psychological support should be provided to both parties involved in the incident as well as their peers to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur, stated Motau. 

Children should be taught how to deal with their emotions in a healthy manner and not to allow anger to determine their actions. They should be provided with the tools to express themselves in a way that does not cause harm to them or others.

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School learners working together in a classroom.

School bullying is an issue that has been plaguing the Education Department for years. The problem has grown, making it unbearable for learners who see no way out. 

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