Minister Grant Condemns Senseless Death of Learner
Minister for Education in the Western Cape, Donald Grant, has condemned the stabbing and subsequent death of a Grade 12 learner at Phoenix Secondary in Manenberg this morning.
"I am deeply saddened by the senseless death of a learner. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all his family and friends in this very difficult time," said Grant.
"I strongly condemn all violence, both in and out, of our schools and can assure the public that every effort is being made to secure our schools and make them safe centres of learning."
Grant said that the District Director, the Safe School's Co-ordinator and IMG manager, had already visited the school and had arranged for trauma counseling and support for the learners and educators.
The incident took place just after school began. A Grade 11 learner allegedly stabbed a Grade 12 learner with a pair of scissors. The victim was transported to GF Jooste Hospital, where he later passed away. The perpetrator has been apprehended by police.
"According to initial reports, the incident is gang related," said Grant.
"We will not tolerate schools being used as gang battlefields."
Grant said that despite all the measures taken by the Department and the Safe Schools Programme, a safe learning environment would never be achieved if the learners themselves do not take on responsibility for managing their conflict in a non-violent manner.
"It is only then that we will be able to reduce crime and violence in our schools," he said.
Currently the WCED have a number of behavioural programmes at schools that address conflict management and behaviour modification. We urge schools to make use of these programmes and identify learners who show signs of aggressive behaviour. These learners need to realise that conflict can be resolved without violence.
Within our school's, the WCED has implemented a number of measures to decrease the amount of weapons that enter our school premises. This includes issuing two hand-held metal detectors to each of our 109 "high risk" schools, as well as initiating "search and seizure" operations with the support of SAPS.
The draft Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Bill places further prohibitions on dangerous objects, illegal drugs and liquor on school premises, and provides greater powers to conduct search and seizure operations at schools.
This will remove any legal ambiguities about the right to conduct random searches and "search and seizure" operations at our schools.
"It is unfortunate that we have to implement such measures, but it is necessary given the culture of gang violence in our communities that is spilling over into our schools."
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
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