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Impact On Violence in KZN Schools

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Labelling theory provides a distinctively sociological approach that focuses on the role of social labelling in the development of crime and deviance. The theory assumes that although deviant behaviour can initially stem from various causes and conditions, once individuals have been labelled or defined as deviants, they often face new problems that stem from the reactions of self and others to negative stereotypes (stigma) that are attached to the deviant label (Becker, 1963; Lemert, 1967). These problems in turn can increase the likelihood of deviant and criminal behaviour becoming stable and chronic. In the words of Lemert (1967), deviant behaviour can become “means of defence, attack, or adaptation” (p. 17) to the problems created by deviant labelling. Thus, being labelled or defined by others as a criminal offender may trigger processes that tend to reinforce or stabilize involvement in crime and deviance, net of the behavioural pattern and the social and psychological conditions that existed prior to labelling. Gender-Related Theories of School ViolenceThis is the theory that was developed by Robert Connell which is about gender and power as a socially structured theory based on socially constructed beliefs of sexual inequality and gender and power imbalance. With regards to gender based theory, there are three major social structures that gendered relationships between men and women and these are sexual division of labour, the sexual division of power and the structure cathexis. Social Learning Theories and School ViolenceBandura, 1973 claims that social learning theories are of the opinion that learners learn to evince aggressive behaviours because they discern others acting aggressively and can observe how these behaviours are reinforced over time claims. Social learning theories accentuate the importance of the social context and believe that people can learn by observing others’ actions and whether these individuals are positively or negatively underpinned when exhibiting aggressive behaviours. Bandura further emphasised that children tend to emulate adults’ aggressive actions that they usually watch in their social living. Aggressive behaviour is thus believed to happen because it has either been role-modelled or strengthened over a period of time.


Violence of teacher to learner

Educators as hired by the Department of Education have particular mandates that are stipulated in the South African Schools Act and PAM. Among other responsibilities educators have, is that of protecting and caring for their clients (learners). The National Education Policy Act (Act 27 of 1996) (stipulates that no person shall administer corporal punishment or subject a student to psychological or physical abuse at any educational institution). In terms of Section 16(3) of the South African Schools Act (SASA), the principal has a main responsibility to guarantee that learners are not exposed to crimen injuria, attack, pestering, mistreatment, degradation, disgrace or pressure from teachers or other learners. teachers “have a ‘duty of care’ and must defend learners from violence because of their in loco parentis status” (Act 84 of 1996: 70). The Norms and Standards for Educators (Government Gazette 20844, 2000: 48) list “Public, nationality and pastoral care” as one of the seven parts of teachers, in terms of which they must validate a kind, moral attitude, admiration and expert performance to including learners. De Wet, (2007); Mncube & Harber, (2013); Ncontsa & Shumba,( 2013) classify physical abuse (especially corporal punishment) and sexual assault as the two main offensive actions that describe the way in which teachers disrupt learners.

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These answers support material dispersed in an in-depth newspaper article Jones,( 2013a)Mncube and Harber (2013), claim that the greatest shared internal violence enacted by schools against learners is corporal punishment. While unlawful since the beginning of the South African Schools Act (No. 84 of 1996), it rests institutionally authorized at many schools. Mncube and Harber (2013:14) further explain that, while some learners might never have experienced corporal punishment in their homes, they might be open to it for the first time at their schools – making corporal punishment ‘a form of violence internal to schools both in the sense that it occurs at school and that the people who experience it there don’t necessarily experience it outside’. Hostility showed by male teachers appears to be particularly challenging. They state that reports include the rape of a 13-year-old primary school learner; physical assault involving being grabbed by the neck and pushed down the stairs; and an teacher trying to sink a learner in a fishpond, requiring a police officer to rescue the learner (Mncube & Harber 2013:1). In another event, connected by Raubenheimer (in Mncube and Harber 2103), a learner tried to commit suicide after his physical assault by the teacher became known by the public. While teachers impose violence on learners, whether through corporal punishment or derogatory language, learners impose violence on teachers.


CORPORAL PUNISHMENT Any deliberate act in contradiction of a learner to punish or contain him or her that causes pain or physical discomfort. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Spanking, slapping, pinching, paddling or hitting a learner, with a hand or with an object
  • Denying or restricting a learner’s use of the toilet
  • Denying meals, drink, heat and shelter
  • Pushing or pulling a learner with force
  • Forcing the learner to do exercise
  • Throwing things – such as a board duster – at a learner.

Burton, (2008) and others classify physical abuse (especially corporal punishment) and sexual attack as the two main abusive actions that describe the way in which teachers violate learners. These results support information dispersed in a detailed newspaper article Jones, (2013a). Violence of the learners to teachersThe study conducted by UNICEF showed that violence against teachers was due to teachers, the school setting, media, and family conditions, claims learners. Teachers become fatalities of violence because of their actions and practices. The teachers were unable to house learners’ needs, treat them in an ill-disposed way, and could not well connect with learners in helping them crack their glitches. This is since only the classroom teachers have an educational background and can deal with learners, both psychosocially and educationally. Also, teachers who are not professionally competent with relevant qualification fail to communication with learners and become threatened. This cause teachers to loose self-esteem and they end up failing to handle learners. In addition, learners do not trust in teachers that they can teach effectively.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to better understand the nature and extent of student-on-teacher violence to improve learners’ and teachers’ experiences and make school systems safer and more effective (McMAHON et al. , 2014). Social contrast processes also lead children to seek out others who behave similarly aggressively in the media or in real life, leading to a downward twisting that upsurges the risk of violent behaviour (Huesmann & Tversky, 2016). While teachers inflict violence on learners, whether through corporal punishment or derogatory language, learners inflict violence on teachers. An important finding of the SACE ‘School-based Violence Report’ (2011) was the Davids and Waghid Responding to violence in post-apartheid schools 31 increase in reports of learners violently aggressive teachers, with schools reporting on verbal abuse, threats, physical violence and sexual violence against educators. Discussing the findings of the ‘2012 National School Violence Study’, Burton and Leoschut (2013) report that school leaders generally felt that their schools were places of safety for both their educators and learners. Educators, however, were less likely to express this view, with only 70% of educators reporting that they felt safe when teaching, and 73. 4% thought learners felt safe while on school premises. Reports from the Western Cape Education Department confirm that seven learners in 2011 and five in 2012 were expelled for physical assault or threatening behaviour. While one of the educator unions, the National Professional Teachers’ Union of South Africa (NAPTOSA), acknowledges that educator abuse is as rife as learner abuse, educators are reluctant to report abusive attacks for fear of losing face in the classroom, or of further intimidation.

The ‘School-based violence report: An overview of school-based violence in South Africa’ (SACE 2011:19) states that, while attacks on educators are under-reported, they highlight the defencelessness of teachers in South African schools, as well as the problem of reports of school-based violence that construct educators as the sole perpetrators. Teachers are overloaded with heavy teaching loads and administrative duties. Also, teachers are tired and detached. Therefore, they do not have the attitude to connect with learners kindly or look into their glitches and solve them. As a result, they have inflexible ways of connecting and interacting with learners, who find this intolerable. Learners usually react to teachers’ practices using different forms of violence. The most common violence form is physical abuse. Currently, despite the presence of hopeful and eager teachers prepared to involve them in solving problems. There are also augmented stages of frustration, since teachers are confronted with tremendously problematic tasks that they are barely capable to deal with (Orpinas et al. , 2004; Jesús et al. , 2009). Consequently, the removal of these glitches needs a sequence of activities for which there is now no overall plan, though the condition can be aided by the distribution of all the gathered information on against teachers. Learners do not have good ethics and discipline. Those learners that have no admiration for teachers and others have feeble domestic connections and they typically come from wrecked families. Their families are less cultured, with poor communication and social skills. Learners display violence against teachers as they are influenced by the videos they watch, online and internet happenings, and computer games. Most of such video games are centred on the action games and violence. Therefore, learners often practice what they play and watch. This incidence was also as a result of a lack of family supervision and control over what students watch and play. Media violence significantly increases the risk that a viewer or game player will behave more violently. Children mechanically obtain writings for the actions they detect around them in real life or in the media. Thus, this is along with emotional reactions and social understandings that support those behaviours. Social contrast processes also lead children to seek out others who behave similarly aggressively in the media or in real life, leading to a descending twisting that increases the risk of violent behaviour Huesmann & Tversky, (2016). Principals should have a wealth of knowledge with the educational process: teaching, learning, teachers’ affairs, professional development, assessment and evaluation, curriculum design, strategic planning, school budgeting, and so on (Alzyoud, 2015).

However, school administrators are challenged by the lack of resources and the lack of specialized and highly qualified human resources that lead and inspire followers, whether those followers are students, teachers, or principals (Alzyoud, 2009). Teacher persecution incurs important costs, including lost wages, lost instructional time/productivity, increased workers’ compensation, litigation, and negative publicity (Levin et al. , 2006). Therefore, there is an urgent need to better comprehend the nature and extent of student-on-teacher violence to improve students’ and teachers’ experiences and make school systems safer and more effective (McMAHON et al. , 2014). Sexual violenceSexual violence manifests itself in various forms and it is common in schools. It includes sexual name-calling and suggestive storytelling, unwanted sexual remarks De Wet & Jacobs, (2009:63) and physical, sexual harassment, such as unwelcome kissing, touching, grabbing and pinching in a sexual way De Wet, Jacobs & Palm Forster, (2008:106-107)Robert Connell the developer of the gender related theories of school violence talks about amongst other things the sexual division of power. The battle of sexes turns heterosexual people to be homophobic. Flood & Hamilton, 2008, states that homophobia is the fear or hatred of homosexual people. It also refers to anti-homosexual beliefs and prejudices. Mason, 1993, p. 2 argues that in the context of violence, homophobic violence refers to violence which occurs “when its victims are chosen because they are believed to be homosexual”. This violence may be sexual, physical or verbal, sending a powerful message of hatred and intolerance. Warwick, Chase and Aggleton in 2004 contend that United Kingdom, United States and Australia are countries with high rate of homophobic violence and nothing much is being done to stop it. An international study by Birkett et al in 2009 revealed that students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender questioning or intersex (LGBTQI) are not well welcomed in the school. The national study done on LGBTQI students deduced that 40% of students were physically victimised in the US. 64. 3% were not feeling at ease to be at school because of their sexuality. Homophobic violence is also conceived as the cause of drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, depression and being suicidal (Davies and McInnes, 2008).


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