Parenty staff
3 minute read
11 Feb 2020
2:30 pm

Tips for parents and kids on how to cope as death toll in schools rise

Parenty staff

From bullying, to stabbing, to drownings cases of deaths in South African schools are piling up. Here's our tips to cope.

Roodepark School was the scene of a violent altercation. Photo: Jarryd Westerdale.

In one of the more recent incidents, a Roodepark High School seventeen-year-old pupil was admitted to ICU with a head injury after a bullying incident. In another separate case a 19-year-old at Modiri Secondary school in Garankuwa was filmed punching another pupil with the video of the incident going viral. The spotlight was also thrust on Parktown Boys’ High with the drowning of Enock Mpianzi.

MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi says, “Unfortunately, we started 2020 on a bad note, so many incidents which include death, bullying, violence, torching of schools and some disruptions recorded within the three weeks of schools opening on 15 January 2020. It looks like this is an indication of a hectic year ahead. However, we are hopeful that working with parents, we will overcome these challenges.”

Reflecting on the root causes of this sad state of affairs, Director or childline Lynne Cawood says, “Children learn to react aggressively as a result of the violence they observe and experience in the country. It is a systematic problem that needs to be corrected collectively.”

With these incidents becoming an unfortunate part of our reality here’s what parents and children can do:

Tips for kids facing this trauma:

  • Play the role of “calm, cool, and composed.” Acting in this manner actually helps a person to remain calm;
  • Be assertive and directive but not aggressive. Do not threaten the learner verbally or physically;
  • Be as non-intrusive and non-invasive as possible;
  • Do not move toward the learner or invade his or her space;
  • Communicate expectations verbally and non-verbally;
  • Always tell the learner to stop (with an accompanying hand signal;
  • Send for help and get rid of the audience (the rest of the bystanders);
  • Do not argue and do not respond to verbal abuse.
  • It is important that any violent incident is recorded;


Tips for parents to help prevent children from acting violently:

  • Be a good role model to children and young people as they will notice and learn from your behaviour. Show them how to resolve conflict by using non-aggressive strategies in settling disputes you have with others. Teach your child about relationship equality and power sharing, which can reduce the potential for intimate partner violence.
  • Be mindful that modelling violent behaviour is likely to teach children and young people to behave in the same manner.
  • Foster resilience in your child so they will be better equipped to handle difficulties, and therefore less likely to engage in violence towards others.
  • Develop open communication with your child so you can talk with them about violence and assist them in developing non-violent strategies to solve issues. This will also provide an opportunity for them to talk about any issues they may be experiencing, such as at school or in relationships. • Work with your child’s school in the development and implementation of an antibullying and school safety policy
  • Watch for possible warning signs that suggest your child may be the victim or instigator of violence.

Source: Department of basic education website

If you found this article useful or interesting, why not subscribe to Parenty’s weekly newsletter for a wrap up of that week’s best content