Violence in schools: “Children are angry”

A 12-year-old pupil from outside Newcastle was arrested last week for allegedly stabbing two 15-year-old schoolmates to death. According to one study, 15% of South African school kids experience some type of violence while at school. LIZEKA MADUNA  asked teachers about their experiences of violence at schools..

ThembinkosiThembinkosi Nzama, 52, educator, Umlazi
The issue of violence is a complex problem and numerous factors contribute towards it. The lack of programmes at schools which encourage children to participate in different things that will distract them from mischievous acts is a common factor. However the society we are living in has an influence on how our children behave, especially in environments where violence is rife. A single person can’t have a responsibility to control how pupils behave but it would take both educators and parents. One possible way to combat violence at schools would be for the whole community to come together with the government to implement programmes that might help pupils to focus on something positive.

ZenhlanhlaZenhlanhla Cibane, 32, educator, Umlazi
Children are angry and that has more influence on violence at schools. Some children come from child-headed families where there are no rules or values. Society is also faced with the problem of children who are born and raised by children. While some children are coming from stable homes where there is love and everything [else], others are coming from broken families. When they get to school, they become angry and wonder why they are not loved or are being abused. As educators, we have a role to play in children’s lives because we are parents as well. Instead of shutting them out, we need to be there for them and try to tackle this anger. Schools need to have programmes which will encourage learners to think positively and give them hope.

NkosikhonaNkosikhona Mzameko, 35, sport curator, Umlazi
In most cases that problem begins at home. There are children coming from homes headed by single parents, mostly mothers who are always at work trying to provide for her family. It is every parent’s responsibility to monitor their children’s behaviour and instil certain values and morals. But, educators spend a lot of time with children at school, so they have a major role to play. Some children find it difficult to communicate with their parents and that’s where teachers come in. As both teachers and parents, we need to pay attention to children’s behaviour and sit them down and talk to them.

NtombenhleNtombenhle Maduna, 33, educator, uMgababa
Violence at schools is a social issue influenced by society. Some children are raised in an unsuitable environment, where social ills are too influential on how children grow and behave. It should be on each and every parent to look into their children’s behaviour, but as educators we also need to play a role because we are parents too. A child needs to know that when they leave home, they are going to parents at school as well. The only thing we could do as a society is to try and do a great job as parents and instil certain values in our children at an early stage regardless of whether a child is yours or not.

NolwandleNolwandle Boyce, 48, educator, Umlazi
Nowadays children are being raised in broken families and as much as parents may try to instil certain morals, they fail. We try as educators to discipline them but the main challenge we are faced with is the influence of drugs. Parents are trying hard to raise children with morals and values but the society we are living in is too influential. When trying to follow the issue of drugs you reach a dead end because pupils have rights and cannot be searched without a warning. We can only pray that our children grow and learn to distinguish wrong from right.

– Voxes have been edited for clarity and brevity
– Featured image by Aaisha Dadi Patel