Bullying and violence at primary schools are becoming more prevalent as young pupils emulate what they see in their communities.
To this end, the police in Lavender Hill, Muizenberg, held an intervention at Little Castle Educare with toddlers who were identified as the most vulnerable members.
The officers repeated that they needed to be protected from the “evils of gangsterism” because the violence within a community is often mimicked in schools.
University of the Western Cape educational psychology lecturer Dr Trevor Moodley agreed. He said the spike in violence and bullying in schools seen on social media is a result of a violent society. He said various aspects of society need to be addressed to have an impact on alleviating abuse in schools.
“There are great challenges, we cannot ignore the fact that the South African schooling system is a microcosm of society which is characterised by a high prevalence of violence, be it systemic or individual.”
Primary maths specialist Lindiwe Tshuma agreed with Moodley and said the presence of gang violence in under-resourced communities spills into the school yard and is practised by pupils.
“The Western Cape Education Department should be taking measures to guard pupils. Collaborations between schools, parents, community leaders and police need to be engaged to improve the moral fabric of the society, which in turn will go a long way in curbing violent activities.”
DA shadow minister of basic education Ian Ollis and basic education portfolio committee member Nomsa Marchesi launched a safety campaign and visited schools where gang-rape and stabbing were reported to try and address the issues.
The campaign highlights seven points, which include police presence, which is hoped to deter violence and abuse and ensure schools become a safety zone.
“We want the police to do more work in terms of prevention and getting communities to look for criminal activities taking place. We want the South African Council for Educators to be vetting teachers against sexual offences registered. We want people to sign the petition to have the measures implemented,” said Ollis.
Spokesperson Millicent Merton said the department has been working with the school safety programme.
“The bullying in schools programme forms part of the national school safety framework. Safe schools have also been training learners in anti-bullying programmes as part of the department’s after-school and holiday programmes and launched various anti-bullying campaigns.”