The provincial education department has confirmed with great concern a stabbing incident at a school in Eerste River recently.
The incident happened last Monday 18 November, and according to police spokesperson Capt Florna Muller, followed an incident the previous Friday.
“What we heard is that three people entered the school premises accusing one of the learners of being from a certain gang. They attacked the learner on the scene,” says Muller.
During the prayer service on the Monday, two learners started to fight and one stabbed the other in the shoulder.
“The learner that was stabbed was taken to hospital and on further inspection two more knives were found in the stabber’s bag. It was later identified as knives that were stolen from the school’s kitchen. Learners who witnessed the incident were referred to a school psychologist,” says Muller.
Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the department, says the learner who allegedly stabbed the other learner was suspended from the school as he faces disciplinary action for another incident.
“The department is committed to ensuring quality education for every learner, in every classroom, in every school across the Western Cape. A safe learning environment is a critical requirement for quality teaching and learning to take place. We implement various strategies to address school violence and safety. Unfortunately, many of the safety risks are a result of community and gang violence which affects the safety environment of our schools. Addressing these issues goes beyond our mandate and control. We are therefore also reliant on other governmental departments and law enforcement agencies such as the police, the Department of Justice and the City’s law enforcement,” says Hammond.
Hammond admits that the department has a role to play, specifically in addressing the behavior of learners in terms of conflict management, substance abuse awareness and abuse, as well as, security infrastructure.
“The department has effective strategies to address school violence, which include building relationships between the parents, learners and the broader school community and involving the local community in the school which includes holiday and after-school programmes, training programmes for teachers, parents and learners to identify and address aggressive learners and giving schools access to school social workers and educational psychologists to provide psycho-social support. It is also aimed at having an accountable school management and giving learners a voice within the appropriate structures in the school, as learners need to be part of the solution,” says Hammond.
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