‘Schools should be an oasis of safety but instead become killing fields’

It is indeed tragic that within two months, fifteen learners have died in Gauteng alone. These deaths have come to represent an inflection point in the public consciousness.

It’s hard to imagine a worse distinction for a province and country to hold as our learning institutions become bloody killing zones.

Today we have learners who are so consumed playing video games and glued to their cellphones that they have little appetite to learn real-life problem-solving skills.

When will our tears, our wounds, our dead, our ‘thoughts and prayers’, our scars, our nightmares, our haunted memories finally produce a productive response to an intolerable climate of brutal violence and escalating deaths in our sacred institutions of learning?

As an embattled nation we have to decide. The longer we procrastinate, more people who otherwise should be alive, are going to be murdered. Our sadness and bereavement illustrates the conundrum in this age of unspeakable violence.

According to reliable information 50 teachers are attacked or threatened by learners in Mzansi’s schools each month.

 Records reveal 72 000 incidents (of school-based violence) 7 on a monthly basis. These records reflect all incidents of violence, not just learner-on-teacher violence. Our schools should be an oasis of safety, but they have now become killing fields in the corridors of death and destruction.

Sadly, in many classrooms, discipline and order have vanished, and learning simply does not take place. Over the past 10 years, modern educators have seen a dramatic change in schools. Violence and disrespect often play a larger role in a student’s life than study and discipline.

 In recent times we have watched playgrounds become killing fields as disgruntled students systematically assault teachers and fellow students. Chaotic classrooms and disrespectful students are symptoms of powerful forces building to a climax that will surprise and shock our nation in the years just ahead.

FAROUK ARAIE

BENONI

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