Violence and bullying remain a thorn to many school communities in the province. The South African Teachers Democratic Union in partnership with the North West Department of Education launched a campaign called “I am a School Fan” on Wednesday, 10 November 2021.

In 2019 the highest decision making structure of the South African Democratic Union was concerned about safety in schools across the country. The debate of the highest structure was necessitated by deep concern over the increase in violence at and around schools. They agreed to launch the “I Am a School Fan” campaign as a way to fight and combat violence in schools.

The campaign aims to mobilise all stakeholders including parents, teachers, learners, and government departments to address school-related violence in all its forms. Ultimately, it focuses on bettering behaviours and attitudes in students and teachers. The main focal point is to address the prevalence of violence within the schools.

The SADTU Provincial Secretary, Els Themba emphasized that looting and vandalism of schools has become a societal norm.

“Amongst the observation we made was around the issues of safety in our schools. We are fully aware of the fact that our schools are not safe anymore. The looting and vandalism of schools has become a societal norm while violence among learners and teachers continues. It is on that background that in 2019 the highest decision making structure of the union the National Congress debate the issues of safety at length.

“Teachers have lost their lives at the hands of learners they teach typical case in point is the brutal stabbing of an educator at Ramotshere Moiloa and may his soul rest in peace, learners have suffered physical and emotional abuse caused by teachers. As a response to all these ills, SADTU has launched the “I AM SCHOOL FAN” Campaign wherein we urge all stakeholders to commit to ensure that our schools are safe”, said Themba.

The North West Department of Education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela embraced the innovation of the teacher union.

“I am extremely happy that today as different stakeholders we are speaking in one voice to bring stability in our schools. As a department we support this campaign and it should be taken across the province. Our communities are the sources of violence; it is not our schools which perpetuate violence. At times, teachers find it difficult to teach a bully who has learned this behaviour outside from the school. What type of a society wherein someone could get to a school only to kill our teachers, really as a nation we should do an introspection.

“Strict policies on school safety promote increased learning, feelings of school unity, higher levels of pro-social behaviour and decreased levels of violence. On the side of the department I can say the glass is half full. Our partnership with social cluster such as our esteemed school safety unit, psychological safety unit, Department of Health, Social Development, SAPS, churches to name but a few bare testimonies to our efforts to safer teaching and learning environments”, said MEC Matsemela.

The department of Education is currently conducting training to school principals and school safety coordinators of all schools in the province on bullying, alternatives to corporal punishment, drug testing and national school safety framework which includes access control and safety measures in schools. Already the department has trained 500 principals and on 15 to 16 November 2021 all primary principals from Dr Kenneth Kaunda District will be trained at Stone – Edge near Potchefstroom.

For more information, please contact:
Elias Malindi
Cell: 072 115 4855/072 892 8399

Author: tkhechane