One in five SA scholars are victims of school violence

June 13, 2019
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The stabbing to death of a 16-year-old Grade 8 pupil at a Johannesburg school has again highlighted the prevalence of violence in South African schools.

A study by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP) has shown that violence is widespread in South African schools.

“Most of the violence is in the form of bullying as well as psychological violence. The problem is that it can escalate and that is where the danger lies. If that behaviour is not recognised by teachers or addressed by the school, with no interventions provided to children, then those situations can escalate into violence that is much more harmful,” Patrick Burton, the CJCP’s executive director, told News24.

“One in five secondary school learners – a total of 22.2% – has experienced violence while at school in the 12 months between August 2011 and August 2012. This translates to just over a million learners (1 020 597) across the country,” according to the study.

In 2016, the Birth to Twenty Plus (Bt20+) study, led by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development at Wits University, found, among other findings, that 99% of all children have witnessed or have been victims of violence in their home, school and/or community, with 36% reporting that they had been victims of all categories of violence studied.

This violence has manifested itself in seven reported school stabbings in the past six months.

1. Forest High School, Johannesburg

On Monday, June 3, an altercation broke out between four boys at Forest High School in Turffontein, Johannesburg. In what has been reported as a gang-related incident, Grade 8 pupil Daniel Bakwela, 16, was stabbed to death, allegedly while attacking fellow pupil Mohammed Mwela with two other pupils who were hospitalised following the incident.

2. Ga-Mamabolo, Polokwane

On May 21, a 15-year-old was arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a fellow pupil at a school in Ga-Mamabolo, outside Polokwane.

The suspect is alleged to have stabbed the fellow pupil, 16, during a fight.

3. Mondeor High School, Johannesburg

On March 13, Grade 11 pupil Kulani Mathebula, 19, died after being stabbed outside the school.

Detectives followed up on information from the scene shortly afterwards, which led them to another school in Mondeor, where the 13-year-old suspect was a pupil.

4. Heather Secondary School, Pietermaritzburg

On February 4, a Heather Secondary School pupil was stabbed by a schoolmate outside the school following a brief but violent altercation.

The 16-year-old was stabbed seven times.

5. Tlhabane Technical School, Rustenburg

On March 13, a teenage girl was hospitalised after being stabbed at Tlhabane Technical School in Tlhabane.

The girl was found unconscious and lying in a pool of blood in the school’s toilet.

6. Mateane Primary School, Diretsane, North West

At around 10:30 on February 26, a 13-year-old pupil allegedly used a pair of scissors to stab his 14-year-old classmate to death.

7. Lentegeur High School, Mitchells Plain

Two pupils were seriously injured at Lentegeur High School in Cape Town after two schoolmates allegedly stabbed them on the premises on February 11.

The attack happened just before the school day started.

The victims are in grades 10 and 11, while the alleged perpetrators are in grades 9 and 11.

*Article adapted from News 24 Crime

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