How to tackle the rise of school pupil violence against teachers in SA

An alarming article by the Sunday Times entitled 'Teachers at the front line of a battle with hostile pupils' has thrown the issue of school violence into the spotlight.

The article contains astounding figures such as in Limpopo authorities are dealing with 942 cases, and a number of transgressions like attempted murder, stabbings, assault, intimidation, theft, drug dealing, sexual violence, cyberbullying were reported. In Gauteng and Western Cape, there were 531 and 126 reports respectively.

READ: Panyaza Lesufi speaks: Teachers in charge of classrooms, there is no democracy

Questions about what is happening in our schools and is their sufficient support for educators to handle the stresses that they encounter are being asked

Speaking to Azania Mosaka, National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) president, Basil Manuel, and Educational Psychologist at Smart Choice Parenting, Ken Resnick weighed in on the issues raised in the news article.

Manuel said he believes that there are methods to support teachers, but whether those methods are enough is another matter.

He says the figures quoted are under-reported. Teachers are ashamed to admit that they are unable to deal with these kinds of incidents from pupils, he adds.

They don't want to be known as the person who was unable to discipline a child...so many are quiet about it.

Basil Manuel, Naptosa president

But for most teachers, they feel that even when the methods are applied, it is the consequences that are not adequate and very often teachers complain about the children who have been found guilty of all sorts of mayhem are then placed back into the same class with the very same teachers that they may have assaulted.

Basil Manuel, Naptosa president

These pupils come back as heroes and it just further breaks down the entire system of discipline.

Basil Manuel, Naptosa president

Resnick says the primary educator of the child is the parent - or whomever the adult responsible for raising them. Those people are guiding them to adulthood, he says.

Teachers are secondary educators, they are teaching them about facts. Whatever the parent does, the child is dependent on that authority figure and if that breaks down, we are in trouble.

Ken Resnick, Educational Psychologist at Smart Choice Parenting

He added what we find today is very few three-year-olds saying please and thank you.

Listen further to the interview on the safety of teachers at schools:


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