Teachers have implored the government to revise laws on corporal punishment saying the ban on canning learners is now contributing to indiscipline in schools.
This comes after violent pupils gangs unleashed terror at Msiteli High School in Bulawayo’s Mpopoma suburb, spreading fear among teachers.
Two weeks ago, the gangs fought running battles at the school resulting in the destruction of a section of the school pre-cast wall and window panes.
The gangs were fighting each other using dangerous weapons like catapults, stones and knobkerries.
A teacher at Msiteli who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Government must revise laws on corporal punishment as they are contributing to indiscipline in schools. Said the teacher:
Personally, I am making plans to move to another school because I am afraid of what these gangs can do to me.
According to school rules, a child must be expelled after being blacklisted three times.
Imagine if the violence that occurred at the school was the first, what next will they do? Definitely something bigger.
Another teacher said the gangs have threatened some teachers at the school as they know that nothing will be done to them. He said:
The gang members camp outside the school and as teachers dismiss you hear them talking that this is the one who beat me up yesterday.
We blame the banning of corporal punishment as pupils no longer fear the school head and teachers as they know nothing will be done to them.
Another teacher said bullying at the school was a big problem and learners are afraid to report it to school authorities. Said the teacher:
It is really a cause for concern because after experiencing violence of that magnitude teachers are really starting to question their own safety.
Although they are not the primary target it is not long before they are the target. The safety of the learners is in the hands of teachers when at school so once we involve ourselves, we will be attacked.
Teachers are becoming more and more reluctant to administer issues of discipline which has seen a rise in cases of lesson bunking and absenteeism.
This has been worsened by the banning of corporal punishment in schools which has left teachers at the mercy of the learners.
It is also making it difficult for teachers to make follow-ups on learners who don’t do their school work.
When reached for comment last week, Primary and Secondary Education ministry director of information and advocacy, Taungana Ndoro said authorities were working flat out to flush the scourge.