As Northern Cape Department of Education (NCDoE), we condemn the recent spate of increasing violence in all our schools. We must prevent and immediately end violence in all our schools. We continue to attend to physical aspects of school safety such as erecting fencing at schools and our close collaboration with the SAPS assists with random searches and seizures.
Gangsterism in communities inhibits effective learning and teaching for it increases the likelihood of violence in schools. We applaud the community inspired program of anti-Gangsterism so aptly named in the Frances Baard district, Galeshewe in particular.
We call on communities to stand up and not to take the law into their hands but to work in collaboration with SAPS in ending scourge of gangsterism in our communities.
In terms of the Regulations for Safety Measures at all Public Schools, the Minister has declared all public schools as drug free and dangerous weapon free zones.
Sexual harassment and violence affect learning environments negatively, creating an atmosphere of fear and aggression. These are certainly not conditions under which our learners should be subjected to as part of their learning experiences.
Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Sexual Violence and Harassment; have been developed and distributed to schools to support schools and school communities in responding to cases of sexual harassment and violence against learners.
The guidelines set out how public schools should treat victims of sexual harassment and violence and the steps that must be taken to deal with those who have or are alleged to have committed such acts.
The department has released a handbook for learners on how to prevent sexual abuse in public schools, titled Speak Out - Youth Report Sexual Abuse. The purpose of the handbook is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of sexual harassment and sexual violence, its implications, ways to protect themselves from perpetrators, and where to report. The handbook also provides very useful contact details of national and provincial organizations that can assist.
It is important for parents and communities to actively participate in addressing and promoting school safety. Parents and communities are well positioned to see to it that children are safe wherever they are.
The Department will continue in earnest to protect the rights of all children in schools. The success of these efforts rely largely on collective efforts of parents and communities to work together with schools to ensure that all children are safe and realise their full potential in school.