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Another teacher has been attacked by a pupil – this time the teacher was shot and has ended up in hospital.
This second violent incident this week by pupils against teachers has raised questions about how safe our schools are.
In the latest attack, a schoolboy at Sasolburg High School in the Free State had been stalking three terrified classmates.
They told the school’s administration officer, deputy principal and another teacher. The teachers asked the boy why he was following his fellow pupils. Instead of answering them, he pulled out the gun, believed to belong to his grandfather.
Just then teacher Johan Jordaan rushed over and tried to reason with him. But his efforts were fruitless. A scuffle ensued and a shot rang out. The Grade 9 youth had shot Jordaan in the right leg.
Emfuleni Medi-Clinic spokeswoman Retha Behr said the teacher had surgery to have the bullet removed from his leg. He was in the intensive care unit on Friday night.
The incident on Friday came just a day after an outrageous video went viral, showing a Grade 8 pupil from Glenvista High School, south of Joburg, attacking his teacher with a chair and a broom, while other pupils laughed and egged him on.
The Sasolburg youth has been arrested. It is believed he is undergoing psychological assessments.
He is expected to appear in the Sasolburg Magistrate’s Court soon.
He was apparently due to appear before a disciplinary hearing on October 8 for suspected stalking and threatening behaviour.
Incidentally, images on the school’s Facebook page show pupils at a pageant using guns as props. They can be seen pointing the guns at the audience and at each other.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has expressed outrage at the recent school violence.
“The minister is disturbed by the violent behaviour of a Glenvista pupil and would recommend that all those present be given trauma counselling,” spokeswoman Troy Martens said. “This incident must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and the relevant punishment meted out.
“Schools should remain a no-violence zone where educators and pupils can feel safe for teaching and learning to take place. Violence will not be tolerated in schools, whether it is perpetuated by teachers, pupils or parents. Corporal punishment is not an option, as this is a form of violence in itself,” Martens said.
The Glenvista High School footage shows the pupil trying to retrieve what looks like a school bag from the teacher. After failing to get it back, he hits and kicks the teacher, then throws a chair and a broom as the teacher walks out of the classroom.
The pupil and those cheering him on should all be disciplined, Martens said.
Gershwin Chuenyane, spokesman for the Gauteng Education Department, said the school’s governing body would conduct the disciplinary hearing. “The investigation is under way. When we have a report the department can act.”
Matakanye Matakanya, the general secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, was shocked by the incident.
“We can only condemn this kind of violence. It’s horrifying.”
Matakanya joined hundreds of people around the country who lauded the teacher for the way he handled the incident and for not retaliating against the student.
“We commend the teacher’s behaviour. He was professional. But we must ensure corrective measures are taken against the pupil.
“That the pupil is in Grade 8 is shocking. He probably must be crying out for help. Children are exposed to drugs. You may find these kids are under the influence of something. It makes them dangerous and they start attacking their parents or children. We want counsellors to help this pupil, the teacher as well as the whole class.”
Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said
: “Teachers are not safe in schools. We have been calling for more security for teachers. Violence against teachers and pupils must be condemned because it has long term repercussions.”
Christian Democratic Party leader Theunis Botha said the problem with ill-disciplined children was that corporal punishment has been banned in schools. “The Biblical teaching of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ has become taboo, and the country is paying the price.”
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