Editorial | Action needed to keep pupils safe
This week’s attack on an Alexander Road High School pupil is the latest in a string of incidents in which children on their way to or from school have been targeted by opportunistic criminals.
The Herald reported yesterday that a 13-year-old Grade 8 pupil and a friend were followed from the Greenacres bus stop shortly after 7am on Thursday while walking to school.
The 13-year-old was stabbed in the shoulder and robbed of his cellphone – and principal Dr Peter Manser says there have been other robberies outside the school.
Also this week, in Westering, an 18-year-old pupil was robbed of her phone after leaving school, although in this case police did make two arrests.
In March, a man attempted to rob seven Pearson schoolgirls walking towards the beachfront and, in February, a Linkside High pupil was ambushed, dragged into bushes and left for dead while walking to school.
As important as it is that schools’ premises are secure and protected, and access to grounds closely monitored, so too pupils’ safety outside the gates, where they are accessing transportation, must receive attention.
Alexander Road is implementing measures to try to make it safer for pupils, but a problem of this kind requires a multi-pronged approach, involving not just the school but also parents and pupils, the community, private security firms, police and the Education Department.
Discussions about changing bus routes to improve pupils’ safety by dropping them off at school should be revisited.
The Western Cape has a model which could be put to the test here, where volunteer groups chaperone pupils from their bus stops to the school gates and back.