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Teacher-friendly schools

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The problem today is that teachers often find themselves in dangerous situations but their hands are tied

ACTION: The Northern Cape Department of Education is in the process of implementing formal disciplinary measures against a Grade 9 pupil at Kimberley Boys High after a video depicting the pupil throwing water at a teacher was circulated on social media. This image was taken from the video.

A video is currently doing the rounds where a pupil at a local high school is seen throwing water in the face of his teacher.

The teacher takes the bottle out of the boy’s hands, disposes of it, and walks out of the classroom.

Kudus to the teacher because the immediate reaction would be to lash out at the Grade 9 boy.

The problem today is that teachers often find themselves in dangerous situations but their hands are tied.

Pupils cannot just be expelled. They are suspended from school for a few days and then are allowed back at their desks – often with newly-found hero status among their classmates.

The chilling factor in the video is not only the boy who has the audacity and arrogance to challenge his teacher and physically threaten and belittle her, but attitude of the other learners in the class, who appear to be cheering him on.

It also almost appears if the entire episode was deliberate and the learners were ready with their cellphones to video the incident. What happened to the rule that learners are not allowed cellphones in the classroom?

This incident comes a week after the Department of Education launched its Collaborative Protocol on the Prevention of Crime and Violence in schools, together with the police and the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, to create safe, caring and child-friendly schools.

Clearly something isn’t working. Maybe the department should be looking at adding the notion of “teacher-friendly schools” to its collaborative protocol.

The time has come for serious action to be taken. For children, and their parents, to realise that such behaviour will not be tolerated, just as violence perpetrated by teachers against learners will not be tolerated.

Teachers are fired when they do not toe the line. Pupils, and their parents, need to know that if they do not know how to behave in a social environment, they too should be kicked out. Those learners who want to learn also have rights as do the teachers and other school staff.

Learners victimization or any other crime perpetrated against or by fellow learners at schools cannot be tolerated.

We want – and demand – passionate dedicated teachers at our schools. But to attract the cream of the crop to the profession, we need to support our teachers, who are not there to only teach today’s children, but the children of the future.

Teaching must never be allowed to be seen as a negative profession, one that only attracts those who are not good enough to go into other fields.

We appeal to the department of education to support our teachers and to draw the line so that learners and their parents know that society will not tolerate the crossing of that line.

And we appeal to parents to teach your children manners, so that one day they can grow up and teach their own children manners.