Keep our kids safe in all schools

Tshepo Mphehlo, a pupil at Thuto-Tiro Comprehensive School in Sebokeng was stabbed to death on Monday by a fellow pupil.
Tshepo Mphehlo, a pupil at Thuto-Tiro Comprehensive School in Sebokeng was stabbed to death on Monday by a fellow pupil.
Image: Yoliswa Sobuwa

Yet another child was killed at school yesterday.

This time it was Tshepo Mphehlo's turn to fall victim to the senseless violence this country has witnessed in a place children are supposed to be safe.

A grade 9 pupil at the Thuto Tiro Comprehensive School in Sebokeng, in the Vaal, Tshepo was stabbed in the chest allegedly by another pupil with a pair of scissors - he was only 14 years old!

His demise was unfortunately not just an isolated incident - this newspaper has reported on the killing of six school children in Gauteng and North West at or near schools this year alone - and this is totally unacceptable.

One learner's murder is one too many.

Schools are supposed to be places of learning and of safety. A place where parents know that their children will be alright when not in their care.

We need to ask ourselves what is important. In this instance, for example, should we be spending money on upgrading schools into "smart schools" - while their safety, a basic need, is not assured?

Do we build our children smart schools, the kind of schools relevant to the world in which we live today; schools which are equipped to give them the right education for the times?

Or should we spend all that money in upgrading schools in terms of security, to keep our children safe, to keep them alive?!

Crime in our country, unfortunately, is a huge problem. Even the new "smart schools" have fallen victim to it, with some of them being robbed of their state of the art equipment not long after the schools were opened to much fanfare.

The answer is both.

We need to make school cool - and the new smart schools are just that - and safe.

It will make our children excited to go to class while at the same time equipping them for the future.

But we need to make them safe. They need to be secure.

Our children need to know that they are safe and so do we in all types of schools.

Tshepo was stabbed dead with a pair of scissors - a tool that might be made obsolete in a smart school but who is to say the violence so prevalent in society today will not find its way into a smart school?

Something must be done, NOW!

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