We are targets for crime, say school students


Students march to demand safer schools

School students marching with banners
Students marched in Cape Town today, demanding safer schools. Photo: Masixole Feni

About a thousand students and representatives of Equal Education marched in Kuilsriver today to demand safer schools.

In an audit of 244 Western Cape schools between September and November last year, Equal Education and partner organisations found that 16 percent of administrators and 16 percent of learners felt unsafe at school.

Auditors also felt unsafe in 35 percent of the schools they visited.

There had been a theft in half of all schools surveyed, physical violence against a learner in a third of schools, drug or alcohol use in a third of schools and one in six had a gang presence, the survey found.

A total of 912 students were included in the survey, which included visits to schools, interviews with administrators and reviews of data.

The survey found that one in four learners felt unsafe on their journey to school. One of the most “remarkable” findings of the audit, according to EE, was that corporal punishment occurred in 83 percent of schools. And only half of fences were assessed to be sturdy enough to keep people out.

Marchers handed over the findings of the survey to district education officials at the Teaching and Leadership Institute of the Western Cape education department through a locked gate. Officials refused to address the crowd.

Grade 10 learner Akhona Peter from Manzomthombo Secondary School in Mfuleni said she was at the march to help fight for safety in schools because it was a big struggle facing learners. “Some schools do not have proper fencing, and we walk long distances to school which makes us targets for crime”.

Lindokuhle Mtshali, who is in Grade 11 at Manyano High School in Khayelitsha, said: “It takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to walk to school and I experience robberies frequently. Sometimes people get robbed right outside the school gate because there are no security guards at our schools. Last week one of the learners was robbed of their cellphone while leaving school and there were three members of Bambanani security but they did nothing.”

EE’s Deputy General Secretary Nthuthuzo Ndzomo said if the department did not respond to the grievances in two weeks, the students would march to the district offices again.

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TOPICS:  Education

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