'Schools need help dealing with pupil violence and bullying'

Violence at schools is escalating, affecting pupils and teachers, and must be curbed, says the Each One Teach One Foundation. File image.
Violence at schools is escalating, affecting pupils and teachers, and must be curbed, says the Each One Teach One Foundation. File image.
Image: 123RF / Cathy Yeulet

Teachers trained as life coaches and the introduction of conflict resolution mechanisms within the school community are among the recommendations of the Each One Teach One Foundation to curb serious episodes of aggression and violence among pupils.

“Both teachers and students appear justified in fearing for their own safety, with the consequence that the learning process is stymied by the need to deal with unruly behaviours,” said the foundation.

It expressed its shock at the death of Lufuno Mavhunga, a grade 10 pupil at one of the best-performing schools in the country — Mbilwi Secondary School in Sibasa, outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

“The arrest of a 15-year-old schoolgirl, who allegedly assaulted Lufuno Mavhunga [before her suicide], should also be dealt with in accordance with the Child Justice Act, which places great emphasis on the assessment of children in conflict with the law soon after they are accused of committing an offence in ensuring their circumstances are taken into account,” said the foundation.

“We should, as a country, do better to protect the lives of children and create safe spaces for learning.”

The foundation asked the basic education department to:

  • increase social work programmes at schools to ensure early interventions to deal with bullying;
  • capacitate schools with conflict resolution mechanisms to resolve schoolground conflicts between pupils;
  • provide adequate infrastructure as part of its curriculum or school structure for pupils to have support against bullying; and
  • ensure there are dedicated teachers who are trained as life coaches.

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