/ 19 August 2008

Cosatu condemns school slaying

It is unacceptable that schools are being turned into killing fields instead being portals of knowledge and information, the Congress of South African Trade Unions said on Tuesday.

The labour federation said it condemned the senseless killing of a grade-nine pupil, the attack on another pupil and two school gardeners by a sword-wielding pupil at Nic Diederichs Technical High School in Krugersdorp.

”Our schools should be places of safety for the educators, children and administration staff,” it said in a statement.

The Young Communist League (YCL) expressed shock and sadness at the latest school killing.

Such incidents were a product of a capitalist society which had no respect for human life and the lives of ordinary people.

Cosatu blamed education authorities for not beefing up security at schools.

”We and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union have been calling for security to be resourced and stepped up in our schools, but to no avail.”

The boy allegedly arrived at school with at least three swords and several masks identical to those worn by the heavy-metal band Slipknot.

He reportedly told his friends that ”today is the day” and tried to convince them to join him in a Satanic ritual.

Cosatu said it was particularly concerned about the rise in violence linked to Satanism. Last week, two schoolgirls hanged themselves and left suicide notes indicating their apparent involvement with Satanism.

The federation said it would embark on a campaign to ensure that schools were free from violence and senseless killings, adding that the campaign would involve all stakeholders, including parents and communities.

”We also call on parents to monitor their children very closely and get help urgently from clinical experts if their children demonstrate signs and antics of hate, including withdrawal from society or family which in the long-term results in such incidents of violence,” said Cosatu.

Said YCL spokesperson Castro Ngobese: ”It is regrettable that on a daily basis learners lose their lives in schools as a result of the barbaric and evil scourge of violence in mainly working class public schools.”

Ngobese said the league was concerned that those in ”high echelons of power” were not decisively dealing with the problem.

”Instead they have bureaucratised this national crisis and dismally failed to create a safe and conducive environment for the culture of learning and teaching to be upheld,” he said.

He said such incidents at schools were a product of a capitalist society which had no respect for human life and the lives of the ordinary people.

This was further entrenched through capitalist media which desensitised society to violence and glorified thuggery through movies, music and television shows.

The YCL conveyed its condolences to the murdered boy’s classmates, friends, family and relatives and wished the two workers a speedy recovery. – Sapa