Thu. Nov 21st, 2019

Four things the WCED is doing about violence in schools

Violence in schoolsThe Western Cape Education Department has outlined its plans to combat violence in schools after a 18 stabbings were reported in the first term of 2019.

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The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) revealed there were 18 stabbing incidents involving learners around the province during the first term of 2019 and outlined their plans to curb violence in schools.

Violence in schools around the country

Following reports of the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old by a fellow pupil near the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town and the Forest High School stabbing in Johannesburg, the topic of violence in schools around the country is being hotly debated.

According to WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond, the number of stabbing incidents involving learners has actually decreased from 19 in the first term of 2018.

This does not mean they are not taking the issue lightly though.

“The Western Cape Education Department is committed to ensuring quality education for every learner, in every classroom, in every school across the Western Cape,” Hammond told The South African.

“The WCED implements 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 do, however, acknowledge that we have a role to play, specifically addressing the behavior of our learners in terms of conflict management, substance abuse awareness, and abuse, as well as, security infrastructure.”

WCED initiatives

  • Inter-ministerial committee based on the National Anti-Gangsterism Strategy

“An Inter-Ministerial Committee which comprises the provincial ministers of education, community safety, social development and sport, arts and culture has been initiated.

“The objective of the committee is to bring together all role-players from a Local, Provincial and National sphere to discuss improved mechanisms to decrease gang-related crime, and to develop strategies to support our youth in order to prevent them from participating in gangsterism themselves.”

  • Risk classification tool

“We are also introducing a school risk classification tool which has been developed in consultation between the WCED, the City of Cape Town, SAPS and DOCS.

“This tool will allow us to identify and classify existing and emerging safety risks so that the relevant security infrastructure and other resources are deployed when and where most needed.

  • School resource officers

“The City of Cape Town’s school resource officer initiative is a collaboration between the WCED and our schools that began in 2013, based on best practice in the United States.

“The presence of school resource officers assists to alleviate the struggles faced by the department in dealing with school violence, particularly where there is a high rate of gangsterism.

“Not only do they have the skills to react to certain emergency situations but they also provide a sense of safety and protection.”

  • Community policing forums and neighbourhood watches

“The appropriate use of the community policing forums and neighbourhood watches in collaboration with the SAPS yields good levels of stabilisation. Currently, Safety Kiosks are deployed at four Lavender Hill schools.”

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