'Protect us from gangs'

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gangs and schools INLSA This eight-year-old boy avoided being shot on his way to school. Picture: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - Principals at Hanover Park schools, at which teachers and pupils have been traumatised by continuing gang violence in the area, have met police and representatives of the Education Department to discuss their concerns.

Last week, the Cape Argus reported on how pupils were dodging bullets on their way to school while their teachers sometimes also had to put their own lives at risk to ensure their pupils’ safety.

Teachers said gangsterism had become the only topic of conversation among pupils, and many of the children had lost someone they knew to violence over the past few months.

On Wednesday, another fatal shooting was reported in Hanover Park.

Police spokesman Andre Traut said a 20-year-old man was killed in Lansman Walk, Hanover Park, at 4.45am.

“The circumstances of the matter are being investigated and no one has been arrested as yet. The motive is yet to be established,” he said.

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the focus of the meeting with principals - held on Tuesday - was the safety of pupils and teachers affected by gang violence. Community police forums also attended.

“The principals expressed their feelings of fear and that more must be done to protect them, their educators and learners while travelling to and from school,” Casey said.

She said principals also indicated that the violence in the community was having a knock-on effect on the schools.

Some of the pupils were involved in gangsterism and brought the conflict into schools.

The violence was also affecting the psychological well-being of many of the pupils and teachers.

Casey said it was suggested that a community march that would mobilise parents to take control against their children who were participating in gangsterism and unruly behaviour be held.

She said principals would now take the suggestion to their teachers and notify the district about whether they would support and participate in the march.

Once this had been finalised, the Western Cape Education Department would make an application to the City of Cape Town for the march to be held.

Casey said Grant was concerned about the recent flare-up of violence in Hanover Park: “This is an extremely difficult situation and we admire and value our educators’ courageous efforts in trying to create and secure a stable teaching and learning environment for our learners when there is violence and fear in the community.”

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Cape Argus


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