SADTU in the Free State will request an urgent meeting with the department of education to discuss the issue of safety and security in schools following recent incidents of violence which put the lives of learners and workers in some schools in danger. At Mamello Secondary School in Virginia, teaching and learning was disrupted last week Wednesday when groups of gangsters within the school attacked each other. As a result, a learner was stabbed in front of fellow learners, educators and education workers.
This cold- blooded incident has left learners, teachers and every worker at the school traumatized to a point where workers, including food handlers have decided not to report at the school until the department guarantees their safety and that of learners.
These incidents at Mamello Secondary have a history dating back to August 2013 where four learners were stabbed in two different but related incidents in the school yard.
Two days after the Mamello Secondary incident, at Sasolburg high school a learner entered the school premises carrying his grandfather`s gun in his school bag. Upon being confronted by the teacher after being alerted by some learners, hell broke loose when during the struggle to confiscate the gun the learner pulled the trigger injuring the teacher in the leg.
Another area that has for long in the past been troubled by gangsterism is Botshabelo. Although the situation has been arrested and incidents subsided, we should not rest and abandon strategies and efforts put in place.
In this regard we appreciate and commend the collectivism of unions, teachers, parents, learners, community and the South African Police Service in ensuring that stability is restored in that area.
As SADTU we remain resolute that the department should employ security personnel in schools as the task is too cumbersome for schools` safety committees.
The violence, drug abuse and bullying in schools contribute to the increase of the drop-out rate because some learners feel unsafe at school.
If the situation if not promptly arrested, it will pose a serious threat to quality public education. It will also have a negative impact on the anticipated results at the end of the year.
Lastly, we call upon all stakeholders in education to stand up against this scourge of brutality in our schools that has turned these institutions of learning into battle fields.
SADTU Free State Provincial Secretariat