Kids Killing Kids in School

  • Published on
    24-Mar-2017

  • View
    213

  • Download
    0

Transcript

  • This article was downloaded by: [Eindhoven Technical University]On: 17 November 2014, At: 16:52Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Safundi: The Journal of South African and AmericanStudiesPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rsaf20

    Kids Killing Kids in SchoolMichael F. Welsh a , Thomas E. Thompson a & Jacque Jacobs aa University of South Carolina ,Published online: 08 May 2007.

    To cite this article: Michael F. Welsh , Thomas E. Thompson & Jacque Jacobs (2001) Kids Killing Kids in School, Safundi: TheJournal of South African and American Studies, 2:3, 1-9, DOI: 10.1080/17533170100102301

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17533170100102301

    PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

    Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.

    This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rsaf20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/17533170100102301http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17533170100102301http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Kids Killing Kids in School COMPARING CASES IN THE UNITED STATES AND SOUTH AFRICA

    Michael F. Welsh University of South Carolina Thomas E. Thompson University of South Carolina Jacque Jacobs University of South Carolina

    A SHOOTING AT SJSS

    y the time she got there the boy was dead. This must never happen again, she thought to herself as she faced her worst nightmare.

    Thuli Gasa was principal of Sikhona Junior Secondary School in rural KwaZulu/Natal province. Hers was a newly formed school and was yet without buildings of its own. For now, it was located on the premises of Themba Primary School and occupied one of the three long single-story brick buildings that formed a U around the school yard.

    The school was situated on the edge of the township. Beyond stretched the sugar cane fields that provided employment to many of the families in the area. With the rolling hills of Natal as a backdrop, the scene had an appearance of peace and tranquility.

    But, the township and its surrounding areas were spotted with no go zones. These were places where an individual would go only at great risk of injury or, maybe, death. They were a result of the bitter struggles for power and control of the local community by the Inkatha Freedom Party of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the African National Congress of Nelson Mandela. Opposing factions had carved out their own pieces of turf, their no go areas, where those who did not belong were in grave danger if they dared to enter. The soldiers in these battles for power were the young, school-aged boys.

    B

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Ein

    dhov

    en T

    echn

    ical

    Uni

    vers

    ity]

    at 1

    6:52

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Issue 6 | Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies | www.safundi.com

    2

    Slightly more than a year had passed since the historic 1994 general elections that ended apartheid were held in South Africa. And yet, fighting for local control of areas in rural Natal continued, often turning violent. The battles carried out among the factions often found their way into the schools. And, that led to a principals worst nightmare: his or her school turned into a no go area for a segment of the student body.

    Boys, as young as twelve years old, sometimes carried small guns to school (usually 9mm) so, as they said, they could defend themselves against their enemies.

    Principals sought to remain neutral in any of the fighting that followed pupils into the school. To confiscate a gun from a boy, or to call the police when a gun was in evidence, could be seen as taking a position in favour of one or the other faction in the fighting. And, to take a position, turned the school into a no go area for the other side. It was a difficult and dangerous dilemma that faced a principal.

    Some resolved it by pretending not to see the gun. Others, would take the gun only to return it as the school day ended. Not to give it back subjected the principal to a charge of selling the boy to his enemies, and the possible loss of the principals all-important neutrality. Of course, other children and teachers found themselves in the same kind of position; they could not say anything without putting their own safety in jeopardy.

    That was the position in which Vusi Goba found himself on that chilly autumn morning in March. Mr. Goba was principal of Themba Primary School and had been summoned to one of the classrooms in the junior secondary area of the school. His colleague, Ms. Gasa, had left the school to fetch some stationary from another school nearby. While she was gone, a boy had pulled a gun and shot another boy in the presence of his classmates and the teacher, Sipho Makhanya. While the boy lay seriously wounded on the floor, Makhanya ran to Mr. Goba for help.

    Goba was not sure what to do. These things did not happen in the primary school and so, he was not prepared to deal with it.

    He remembered an incident that happened just last week in a school nearby, Khulani Junior Secondary School. A boy had been shot in the forehead. The principal had rushed him to hospital. The boys life was saved, but his condition was not much more than that of a cabbage. The principal found himself in trouble with one of the political factions because he took the boy to hospital. That action was seen as supporting the other side. Ironically, the boy who did the shooting walked free because of the new law that does not allow children to be sent to jail.

    Chilled by this remembrance, Mr. Goba hurried back to his office and sent for Ms. Gasa, and asked her to return to the school as quickly as possible.

    By the time Ms. Gasa returned, the boy was dead. She knew this incident could spark a new round of political violence. If she and Mr. Goba were blamed for not saving the boys life, then both of their schools might become a target in the ongoing power struggle, and consequently, become a no go area.

    What would you do if you were in Ms. Gasas position?

    his case is written in the form of a teaching or decision case as is often used in the business disciplines. It is a true story about real people, but the end has been T

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Ein

    dhov

    en T

    echn

    ical

    Uni

    vers

    ity]

    at 1

    6:52

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Issue 6 | Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies | www.safundi.com

    3

    eliminated as a means of encouraging reflection and discussion. Readers are asked to place themselves in the position of the main character and solve the case, using appropriate school management and leadership practices, as if they were actually there.

    This particular case took place during a tumultuous time in South Africa. The long struggle to end apartheid had succeeded, and majority rule had just been established with the election of Nelson Mandela as president. However, the educational system was in crisis. Many forces had combined to undermine the culture of learning in South African schools. These forces included almost forty years of separateand unequaleducation under apartheid; nearly a decade of educational disruption as schools and school children became caught up and actually took a leading role in the political struggle against apartheid; and a political climate during the early 1990s that was highly charged, fractious, uncertain, and even violent (Wyatt & Atkinson 2000). The case is a true description of an actual incident; however, names and some peripheral facts have been disguised for the safety and protection of the case informant.

    The reader might question how a situation in South Africa can be used to promote thinking about school safety in the United States. In many circles, South Africa is considered a third class country with a dysfunctional school system that was used to support and promote apartheid. Actually, the educational systems in both countries have several commonalities. Many parallels can be drawn between the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. In the area of education, significant similarities exist in the fight for equity. In both countries, equality has meant the desegregation of school systems. The dual school system in the South was definitely separate, and clearly unequal. In the 1930s, as America was plunging into the depression, the average expenditure for white children in the South was $44, but for Blacks it was only $13. The discrepancies were even larger in some southern states with large black populations. In Georgia, the figures were $35 and $6; and in Mississippi, $45 and $5, respectively, (Thompson 1975).

    The costs of desegregation fell unequally on blacks and whites. Black schools were usually the ones that were closed, and black students were bused more often than whites. Over one thousand black educators in five southern states lost their jobs when the school systems merged while more than five thousand white educators were hired. Without doubt, blacks were made to pay for the opportunity to attend desegregated schools (Sinowitz 1973).

    Efforts to desegregate schools also resulted in large numbers of white parents pulling their children out of the affected districts for places where they were assured of more homogenous (i.e. segregated) schooling situations. Between 1970 and 1984 the total public school enrollment in the U.S. fell about fifteen percent while private school enrollment rose by over six percent (USDOE 1992). White flight studies found that whites fled the school districts in larger numbers when significant numbers of students were mandatorily reassigned and when white students were reassigned to black schools (Armor 1978; Coleman 1975; Farley 1975; Pettigrew and Green 1976; Rossell 1975). As a result of white flight, most of the districts that were forced to desegregate, became resegregated (Armor 1978).

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Ein

    dhov

    en T

    echn

    ical

    Uni

    vers

    ity]

    at 1

    6:52

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Issue 6 | Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies | www.safundi.com

    4

    ADDITIONAL CASES OF SCHOOL VIOLENCE

    he history of the subjugation of Blacks is not the only characteristic that the two school systems have in common. The following cases represent an additional reason

    why school violence in South Africa can inform administrative practices in the United States:

    Santee, California (March 2001): A 15 year old student at Santana High School, using a 22-caliber handgun, opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 13 others. One day later, a 14 year old girl in Williamsport, PA wounded a classmate after firing shots in her schools cafeteria (Fox 2001).

    Manenberg, Cape Town (January 2001): A 14 year old female was shot in the chest on her way to Alexander Sinton High School in Athlone. The girl was caught in a crossfire during a gang fight as she rushed to catch a taxi that would take her to school (Bamford 2001).

    Oxnard, California (January 2001): A 17 year old male entered Hueneme High School, fired shots and took a female student hostage. The gunman did not know the girl and was not a student at the school. He was later shot and killed by the police (AP 2001).

    Cape Flats, Cape Town (November 2000): A seven year old girl was shot in the head after being caught in crossfire between rival gangs. She was the seventh Manenberg child to die in this manner in 2000 (Williams 2000).

    Cape Town (August 2000): Two Eerste River Schools pupils were murdered within a two week period by gangsters targeting school children for recruitment. Pupils who refused to join the gangs have been intimidated and assaulted. In surrounding areas, gang battles have routinely been fought on or near school grounds (Joseph 2000). The pervasiveness of such incidences caused teachers in Mitchells Plain to launch a Yellow Door campaign in an attempt to get pupils safely to schools and back. A yellow diamond was used to mark the doors of homes where school children could seek safety if a gang fight erupted in the area (Tromp 2000).

    Lake Worth, Florida (May 2000): A 13 year old honor student shot and killed his teacher on the last day of school (AP 2001).

    Mount Morris Township, Michigan (February 2000): A 6 year old boy shot and killed a 6 year old female classmate at Buell Elementary School using a handgun stolen by his 19 year old uncle (AP 2001).

    Fort Gibson, Oklahoma (December 1999): A 13 year old student fired at least 15 shots at Gibson Middle School, wounding four classmates (AP 2001).

    Soweto, South Africa (November 1999): A 22 year old matric pupil, distraught after a love affair ended, shot and killed a schoolmate who was trying to calm him down. Afterwards, the student turned the gun, which had been borrowed from a security guard, on himself (GCA 2001a).

    Deming, New Mexico (November 1999): A 12 year old boy shot a 13 year old female classmate in the head. The girl died the next day (AP 2001).

    T

    Dow

    nloa

    ded

    by [

    Ein

    dhov

    en T

    echn

    ical

    Uni

    vers

    ity]

    at 1

    6:52

    17

    Nov

    embe

    r 20

    14

  • Issue 6 | Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies | www.safundi.com

    5

    Atteridgeville, South Africa (September 1999): A teacher from Edward Phatudi High School shot and killed a 20 year old student while they were on a school trip (GCA 2001a).

    Conyers, Georgia (May 1999): A 15 year old male student opened fire at Heritage High School with a .357 magnum and a rifle, wounding six students (AP 2001).

    Littleton, Colorado (April 1999): Two students at Columbine High School shot and killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 other students before killi...