Mike Moriarty MPL
Deputy Spokesperson on Education
The DA in Gauteng welcomes the suspension of two Pretoria girls after a video recording their intense fight surfaced on the internet this week. The video (available here) shows a fifteen year old girl at Overkruin Hoërskool being kicked and hit just outside a classroom. Her head was banged against a window a few times, shattering the pane and punches to her nose left her bleeding, and one eye was swollen shut.
A report in The Star this morning confirms the concerns around growing incidents of school violence, indicating that seven pupils in the Pretoria Education District alone have been suspended in three schools over the past two weeks, and several pupils have been treated for serious injuries.
The DA also welcomes the Pretoria Education District’s plan to address school violence. It is critical that stakeholders from across the board, including learners, parents, teachers, education officials and police, are brought together to tackle this problem. It is clear that this is a scourge that pervades all part of our society.
However, the most urgent matter is the need to empower schools with the means to detect signs of potentially violent situations or conditions that lead to bullying. The schools also need to be guided how to address these condtions – prevention is better than dealing with the damages.
Moreover, this empowerment must mean providing the necessary knowledge and capacity to learners (particularly those who are under threat), educators, parents, school and district management. Also, the criminal justice system needs specific plans and processes.
Only a whole of society approach, as championed by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, will be successful in addressing the growing scourge of school violence that threatens the safety, well-being and education of Gauteng children.