POLICE officers at the scene of a shooting at a school in Folweni last month. Motshwari Mofokeng African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - TEACHER unions in KwaZulu-Natal are united in their call for society, community leaders and councillors to play their roles in ensuring that schools become a safe space for teaching and learning.

This comes after a number of reports of violence in schools across the province in recent months.

The provincial secretary of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), Nomarashiya Caluza, said there was an urgent need to engage with communities in order to tackle school violence.

“You must first rid the community of crime. If pupils are coming from a violent community, they might perpetuate violence in their schools. All the leaders in the community, including councillors, traditional leadership and the police, must play their role to fight violence in schools,” said Caluza.

She called on community police forums and the police to be visible around schools.

Caluza criticised those who were calling for teachers to carry guns to schools in order to protect themselves against violent pupils.

The call was made by the Educators’ Union of South Africa following a series of violent incidents against educators.

“As Sadtu, we are totally against that because we’ll be encouraging violence. Our schools must be a safe space. We need the commitment of every single person to ensure that we have safe classrooms.”

The Department of Basic Education also rejected the gun proposal, describing it as “irresponsible, reckless and dangerous”.

“This can only escalate the violence that’s already causing huge distress among our teachers, pupils and the community in general,” said department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

The Mercury