Increasing incidents of violence at schools have urged the Northern Cape’s Education and Safety Departments to intensify their plans to curb gangsterism in schools. The John Taolo Gaetsewe District in Kuruman is known to be plagued with gangsterism in schools.Recently a grade 10 learner was shot inside the school premises and a teacher was stabbed to death by another teacher at another school in the same area.
Police will ensure the safety of pupils in schools, by conducting thorough searches. Pupils have welcomed the intervention, saying they have been feeling uncomfortable at their schools.
“I do feel safe at school but most of the time I don’t because of the children that are coming with abnormal things to school, which is not right,” says a learner, Ané Willemse.
“The children disrespect the educators and some like they said they’re bringing dangerous weapons to the school,” added another learner, Thato Moacwi.
Parents and communities have been urged to also play a role.
“Previously when we go to different schools to go and search, we found dangerous weapons, some of the parents did not understand they would listen to the learners and say police are harassing our children. Now with this protocol it says that we’re going to make sure that each and every committee at different schools is going to have police involved and reservists, we’re going to have a number of searches that we’ll conduct at schools,” says Northern Cape Police Provincial Commissioner, Risimati shivuri.
Officials have sworn to continue to protect the rights of pupils at school.
“Most of the children need to be safe and with the signing of this protocol on safety today, I think we will have more power and the teachers will have more power over the children to make sure the children are disciplined,”Education MEC Martha Bartlett says.
“We need commitment, that’s the first thing; commitment from our own officers. But also we need commitment from parents, we need commitment from learners themselves and we need commitment from educators,” says Northern Cape MEC for Safety, Lebogang Motlhaping.
Police say the intention of the school safety campaign is not aimed at labelling pupils as criminals, but to remove them from criminality.