“Fathers Are Not Doing What They Should Be,” Says Psychologist After Spate of Violent School Attacks

“Fathers Are Not Doing What They Should Be,” Says Psychologist After Spate of Violent School Attacks

  • South Africans are concerned about their children's safety after a spate of horrifying incidents at schools across the country recently
  • This comes after two separate incidents occurred in Western Cape and Gauteng where learners were stabbed to death by other learners
  • University of Pretoria’s educational psychologist, Professor Kobus Maree, told Briefly News fathers should step up in their kids' lives
  • Maree pointed out the steps that schools, parents and communities can take to reduce violence among learners
  • He also shared some warning signs that point out to the inclination toward violence

Tebogo Mokwena, a dedicated Briefly News current affairs journalist, contributed coverage of international and local social issues like health, education and heritage in South Africa during his seven years at Daily Sun and Vutivi Business News.

University of Pretoria's educatinal psychologist, Professor Kobus Maree, shared ways school violence can be curbed
According to Professor Kobus Maree, ending school violence requires effort from learners, teachers and parents. Images: GeorgiaCourt and Tomas Rodriguez
Source: Getty Images

With the recent rise in violent incidents in school, like when a pupil stabbed and killed his classmate over a chair, there is a concern among South Africans that this might spiral out of control. Professor Kobus Maree, an educational psychologist at the University of Pretoria, spoke to Briefly News on tackling the rise in school violence.

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Professor Maree proposes solutions to school violence

Professor Maree, who spent over 30 years researching career counselling locally and globally, told Briefly News that a multipronged approach is needed. This approach should involve parents, teachers and pupils and focus on creating a safe environment for them to grow and thrive.

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He stressed the importance of educational psychologists and the need to use a non-punitive approach.

“Educational psychologists can plan with the department and collaborate on school, district and provincial levels. These programmes must be tailored to helping children.
"Adopting a compassionate approach and creating a safe space and opportunities for people to apologise will go a long way,” he said.

Maree told Briefly News that learners who commit violent acts at school, like the teen who recently stabbed another schoolmate in Ennerdale in Johannesburg, must understand the value of accountability.

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“We can create opportunities to listen to both parties and act compassionately. At the same time, there must be accountability. Criminals in society get away with impunity, and there is very little accountability and restorative justice. There must be restorative justice, and our ultimate aim is to rekindle children's relationships,” he said.

Prof Maree shares signs to look out for

Maree also believes that it is essential for parents to be proactive in their children’s lives and look out for signs that their children might be prone to school violence.

“Any behaviour change is a red flag: a student that used to smile but no longer does, a student that used to focus in class and was talkative are some examples.
"Any change in behaviour, even including a destructive remark or an incident that involves an angry outburst, must be discussed with parents.
“Every child deserves one special person that truly believes in them, and sadly, our fathers are not doing what they should be doing.

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“If a child talks negatively about their teacher, parents should stand up and remind them that their job is to teach them. They must also discuss the matter with the teacher and clarify the matter with them too.”

Violence in schools a concern after 2 incidents in Gauteng

In a related article, Briefly News reported that two violent incidents at Gauteng schools in 2023 shone the spotlight on school safety.

In one incident, a Grade 10 child was stabbed to death, and in another, a Grade 10 girl was viciously assaulted. Netizens expressed concern about how schools are becoming more unsafe and children becoming more violent.

Source: Briefly News

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