Recently at Gauteng schools there has been rising incidences of school violence, bullying and ill-discipline. The Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has now called for swift investigations into the occurrence of violence at schools in the province.
The first incident that brought the issue of ill-discipline and violence to light was when a Limpopo student, Lufuno Mavhunga was found dead by her mother after committing suicide due to an apparent overdose. It is alleged that she had taken her own life after being assaulted by a girl at her school. A video had surfaced on social media of the girl assaulting Lufuno and now she has been arrested and charged with assault.
There are allegations that Lufuno had reported to the school that she was being bullied but that no action was being taken.
Days later another video of two girls fighting in school toilets at Dinwiddie High School emerged. According to Lesufi, the school intervened immediately after being made aware of the matter and one of the students was placed on precautionary suspension, as per the school’s code of conduct.
"...other learners at the school will be receiving psycho-social support while the school has initiated several measures to curb similar future incidents, including undertaking an advocacy campaign to educate the learners on bullying, assault and related offences,” Lesufi said.
Lesufi said that there was also a recent incident of a stabbing involving students as well as another video surfacing displaying alleged school bullying in the province.
“Our schools should be the centres of excellence; not sites of violence and other anti-social behaviour. We call on parents to play their role and talk to their children as well about ill-discipline and violence as this is a societal challenge," Lesufi said.
He says that violence has no place at schools and that school management, parents and the department will be called to work together to make sure these acts of ill-discipline and misconduct comes to an end, "swiftly".
Gauteng Education Spokesperson Steve Mabona spoke to Newzroom Afrika, saying that those who record the incidents should also face consequences as they perpetuate this behaviour when it is shared on social media.
Mabona says that parents must be involved in the interventions to prevent ill-discipline as discipline should be implemented at home first. Intervention measures that are currently being implemented at schools are precautionary suspension, pschychosocial support for both the victims and perpetrators as well as advocacy campaigns.
Mabona encourages students to report bullying or violence as soon as they witness it happening, so that interventions and disciplinary processes can take place as soon as possible.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says that communities as a whole need to work together in ensuring the safety of all students, not just teachers especially when a lot of the incidents of ill-discipline and violence are occurring outside of the school premises.
"With this Covid-19 teachers are under extreme pressure in trying to cope with the requirements of health on the other hand they have to be teaching and indeed they have to deal with the difficult situation of violent or psychologically challenged communities," said the minister.