Minister Grant Condemns Senseless Killing of Learner
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.
However, the safety of our children cannot be the sole responsibility of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). We need the help of the community and the police to ensure that violence outside the school gates is also kept to a minimum.
Nineteen (19) stabbing cases involving learners have been reported to the Safe Schools Call Centre this year, eight (8) of which, occurred outside the school premises. Five (5) of these, were committed by members of the community, not learners.
The department unfortunately cannot always police or protect our learners outside the school gate. We simply do not have the resources or the capacity. What we do have, however, is the determination to work closely with the community and the police to prevent any incidents like this from happening again.
We all have a role to play, we just need to communicate.
Currently the department has 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 department 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 the South African Police Service (SAPS).
The draft Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Bill, which is currently out for public comment, 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 violence in our communities that is spilling over into our schools.
The department will do everything to ensure our learners safety, but we can do so much more if we have the support of all our communities.
The leadership and mentorship of our children starts at home.
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Cell: 072 7241 422
Tel: 021 467 2377