Safety in schools is directly related to discipline mechanisms. Therefore, the plan to deploy so-called community safety volunteers in schools and to establish safe school committees in an attempt to combat violence in schools is ludicrous (Mercury, July 8).
In the first place, are these volunteers going to be armed? Are they going to sit in on lessons or roam around corridors while teaching is going on? Will they be permitted to intervene in a teacher’s confrontation with a recalcitrant pupil? Will the remuneration of these volunteers be by the province or individual schools seeing as this master plan is part of a scheme to tackle unemployment?
As for safe school committees, like CPFs, one is looking at just another talk shop forum which generates meetings and minutes in a revolving-door fashion. Such advisory bodies are neither hands-on nor proactive and cannot contribute physically is actually intervening in an incident of violence.
The only way to deal with school violence is by rigorous application of school discipline. Besides the usual compiling of letters of warning and disciplinary hearings on a pupil’s file, repeated defiance and non-co-operation has to lead to expulsion which, in any case, should be immediate in cases of violence or repeated threats of violent intimidation.
Unfortunately, the professionalism of teachers has been eroded to the point where they have long since ceased to be kings and queens of their classrooms. Along with the politics of school governing bodies and the tardiness of district superintendents in promptly authorising the expulsion of refractory elements from schools, teachers and teaching have become a hostage to a multitude of factors outside of the school building.
Without the strict application of uniformity, conformity and professionalism, control in schools have been usurped by outside sources. The KZN government’s crackpot plan for school safety is a case in point.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 10 July 2019.