Teachers and parents at Greenpoint High School near Kimberley in the Northern Cape fear for their lives and their children’s lives following the escalation of gang violence at the school.
Gang related attacks have been going on since the beginning of the year. This has forced the school’s closure. Greenpoint High School has been battling gang violence originating on weekends at local taverns spilling over to the school as some of its learners are allegedly members of the gangs.
On Wednesday, a learner was stabbed when gang violence erupted again at the school. The incident led to the school closure.
The School Governing Body says it has taken measures to make sure that this violence at the school does not continue. The Chairperson Leon Monyobo says the unruly learners have suspended.
Monyobo adds that, “As the SGB members we going to be here not on a daily basis but I’m always here to look for the safety and so on. But I think the issue is, as we have given them their suspension letters and they will realise that the thing that they have done is wrong. We have suspended them for seven days now and we are going to go to the disciplinary hearing. And when we done with that they will realise that this problem that they cause at the school is its zero tolerance.”
The Head Of Department (HOD) of the Department of Education in the Northern Cape Moira Marais says its educational support team has been deployed at Greenpoint High School in Kimberley to give counselling to the learners and teachers.
Marais says, “We have sent out our education support team to help with the counselling of the learners. The teacher that was held hostage was allowed to go on sick leave and she is receiving counselling. For the learners also we need to have an intervention programme at the school. But on Sunday, there will be a meeting with the community and we roped in the councillor.”
While some parents are calling for the deployment of soldiers at the school, some parents feel that is not necessary.
“They need to deploy the South African army to quell the situation,” said one parent.
Another parent expressed that, “The situation is really tense, but not necessary to bring in army now”
“The army will have no mercy on their children. No need to bring them in now,” said a member of the community.
Video| Interventions to deal with school violence