While these incidents must be treated with the seriousness they deserve, it is also critical that they are not simply passed off as involving a miscreant pupil. Instead, the department must offer psychological services and support to both parties during the pupil’s suspension.
All too often, such actions are labelled as “ill-discipline”, when in fact there may be deep-seated psychological issues or even psychiatric conditions that need to be ruled out.
Such a recommendation must also not be seen as siding with or sympathy for the “perpetrator” of violence, but rather one that seeks to get to the bottom of the problem.
This is a far better alternative to one of considering criminality and punitive action which may ruin the future of this or any other pupil.
While it may not always be a popular view, the need for this kind of approach is both necessary and compulsory. The DA will today write to KZN’s new Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu to consider such a tactic for both the pupil and teacher in this latest instance, as well as for every incident going forward.
Dr Imran Keeka is a DA KZN Member of the Provincial Legislature.
The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Independent Media.