Schools not to blame for deaths

Media coverage of the deaths of pupils unfairly blames schools rather than parents and peer groups.

Media coverage of the deaths of pupils unfairly blames schools rather than parents and peer groups.

Banner headlines such as "KES stabbing" and "Athlone boys in court" imply that the incidents happened at school. The incidents happened during a weekend and at a private party.

What sort of adult supervision was there?

From 8am to 5pm, most schools try to instil discipline, self-control, norms and standards of behaviour. But from 5pm to 8am, lack of proper parental supervision allows youth to get involved in all sorts of mischief - anti-social and harmful behaviour.

Education departments and schools try to instil acceptable values, morals and ethics in life-orientation programmes. Schools will shortly be given more powers to conduct random searches under certain conditions for drugs and dangerous objects. Obviously, schools will have to give more attention to safety and security measures.

That means that parents, communities, youth organisations and churches must help schools and the police to take the necessary precautions and measures to prevent further tragedies. The challenge will be to get all parents and other agents to actually attend workshops to implement those measures.

David Quail, Johannesburg

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