South Africa: School Violence - How Can We Make the Classroom a Safe Haven for Learning?

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Crime and violence have become a common feature of many South African schools. Incidents are often captured on social media when videos go viral. Individual incidents grab headlines, spark outrage and condemnation but what are the underlying causes of violence at school and what should be done to make schools the safe havens they should be? By PUSELETSO NTHATE

Schoolyard violence has dominated news headlines over recent weeks. In two of the most recent incidents in KwaZulu-Natal, both caught on video, pupils are caught in violent acts. In Siyathuthuka Secondary School in Inanda, a girl is shown sitting on the floor as she is being beaten and kicked on the head by a school mate. In the second video, a group of boys are seen fighting with knives on the school premises at Richards Bay High.

School violence is by no means limited to KwaZulu-Natal, but prevalent throughout South Africa. In Gauteng recently, a video circulated of two girls fighting each other from Norkem Park High School in Kempton Park.

And globally, about 246 million girls and boys are harassed and abused annually in and around schools, according to a National School Safety Framework report published in December by the...

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