In The News South Africa

GDE concerned about educators being assaulted by learners

JOHANNESBURG, May 31 – The Gauteng department of Education (GDE) said on Wednesday that it was concerned about reports of schoolchildren assaulting staff members.

“Schools are meant to be a conducive environment for teaching and learning, therefore it is disappointing that staff members are being physically assaulted and/or threatened by learners,” the GDE said in a statement.

“These incidents of learner misconduct undermine the authority of educators.”

The department said 10 cases were reported in 2014, while 26 were reported in 2015 and 21 in 2016.

“Johannesburg East accounted for a high number of assault cases, with even cases in 2014, five in 2015 and four in 2016. Johannesburg North is second, with one case reported in 2014, three in 2015 and five in 2016,” the GDE said.

The GDE said it had a policy of zero-tolerance to bullying or any form of misconduct, and anyone who was found to be transgressing this policy would be dealt with in line with South African Schools Act (SASA), which governed all schools.

“Learners found guilty of misconduct are rehabilitated, and can be re-instated after successful completion of a diversion programme. In 2015, out of a total of 26 learners facing serious misconduct, 14 were expelled, while 12 were re-instated.”

The department added that such cases of bullying were acted on immediately and parents were informed of the incident, while the perpetrators would undergo disciplinary processes where appropriate sanction or expulsion was recommended to the Head of Department.

“Psychosocial support is provided to both victims and perpetrators,” the GDE said.

“We urge learners to abide by the school code of conduct and for teachers to execute their constitutional mandate with high level of professionalism at all times, and refrain from any acts of misconduct.”

The department said it urges all schools to enforce their codes of conduct to deal with bullying and other disciplinary matters. It also said it “strongly condemns” any misdemeanour in schools, which could lead to serious action being taken against learners or educators.

“We urge all our learners to refrain from acts of misconduct in schools and implore parents to assist the department in instilling learner discipline in and outside the school environment.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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