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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal schools have become dangerous playgrounds for gangs, where violence is used to solve disputes and teach lessons.
The latest study into school violence by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention found an alarming increase in school violence: it found that 22.2 percent of high school pupils had been subjected to some form of violence.
The study used a sample of almost 6 000 pupils, 121 principals and 239 teachers. The largest percent were from KZN. It found that:
* 12.2 percent had been threatened with violence
* 6.3 percent had been assaulted
* 4.7 percent had been sexually assaulted or raped
* 4.5 percent had been robbed at school
This comes after a series of incidents involving gangs and bullies at schools, including:
* Suid Natal Hoërskool in Port Shepstone, where two pupils were assaulted by a gang last month after numerous threats. Three boys were arrested last week for the attacks.
* Fighting between rival gangs at Umlulama Secondary School in Thornville, near Pietermaritzburg. A 16-year-old pupil was fatally stabbed last year and another pupil was stabbed two weeks ago.
* A pupil was hospitalised after being assaulted by bullies earlier this year at Marklands Secondary.
* In Pretoria, a schoolboy from Langenhoven High School had his ear chopped off with a machete and three others were injured this week.
Education Department spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said pupils in gangs were not deterred by the disciplinary process.
The study found that teachers were victims of verbal abuse (52.1 percent), physical violence (12.4 percent) and sexual violence (3.3 percent) from pupils.
Nearly a tenth of pupils said it would be easy for them to obtain a firearm at school, with one in five claiming to have access to knives or other weapons at their school.