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Plans to tackle violence at schools

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Published Feb 3, 2017

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RESPONDING to the stabbing of three pupils by another pupil at Lentegeur Secondary School in Mitchells Plain on Wednesday, Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Jessica Shelver outlined strategies to combat gangsterism at schools.

Shelver confirmed that the three pupils were allegedly stabbed by their fellow pupil, reportedly after an alleged gang-related altercation between the four.

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“One learner was stabbed in his left hand, on his forehead and in his neck, the second learner sustained a stab wound to his lower back, and the third learner was stabbed in his shoulder,” she said.

The injured pupils were taken to hospital after the school staff had called the police and emergency services.

A Safe Schools co-ordinator and two psychologists visited the school immediately after the incident to normalise the situation and render psychological support, Shelver said.

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The Safe Schools Directorate arranged for increased police visibility around school dismissal time for the remainder of the week, Shelver said.

She stressed that school safety was an continuous concern and challenge for the department.

“We can take measures to secure our schools, and we do, but it is no secret that in the Western Cape, we are faced with the scourge of gangsterism that has been plaguing some of our communities for decades.

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"Unfortunately, in communities where gangsterism is prominent, it can and does spill over into our schools."

Shelver said the department's strategies for dealing with the prevalence of gangsterism at schools included search-and-seizure operations for dangerous weapons and illegal substances.

The strategies also included the department partnering with the city to introduce school resource officers at 18 metro schools to provide law-enforcement services such as access control, searches, seizures and patrols on and outside school premises and surrounding streets, said Shelver.

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This also involves the Safe Schools Directorate’s three key functions of crime control, crime prevention and building partnerships with communities, government and civil society.

There were also behavioural intervention programmes that include emergency strategies to minimise the impact of gangsterism in schools, she said.

Lentegeur Secondary School principal Abubaker Frieslaar declined to comment when approached by the Cape Times, preferring to direct the newspaper to the provincial education department.

Police spokesperson Captain Andre Traut confirmed that officers were aware of the incident, but that the parties concerned declined to open any cases.

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