Omar said the focus should be on prevention instead of reaction.
“We need to look at the many different causes of violations of children. We have become a reactive society, both government and civil society. We are rushing in blindfolded without seeing what is happening,” Omar said.
She said among pupils, deaths could trigger “past trauma, might trigger feelings of survival guilt, lots of feelings of anger that not enough was done to protect and save lives”.
“Punitive measures are quick-fix solutions but they have long-term ramifications. We need to ensure that crime prevention programmes are implemented consistently. We need dedicated psychological staff, not just the department’s team. Child protection is everybody’s business,” she said.
Lesufi called for heightened involvement from the intelligence agencies.
“The intelligence community needs to tell us who are burning our schools. There is a strong need for education to be at the centre of their work. We also have to be harsh on taxi drivers who overload children,” Lesufi said.
The panel said communities had an important role to play in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils and the protection of school infrastructure.