Nine murders and 19 attempted murders which were recorded by the police between April 2019 and March 2020 were as a result of bullying in schools.
This was revealed in the release of the annual crime statistics by police minister Bheki Cele on Friday morning.
The statistics further showed that 345 assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm (assault GBH) and 546 common assault cases were opened as result of bullying in the country’s schools.
The extent of school violence is so extreme that teachers are getting their own new textbook — a guide to protecting themselves against violent and abusive pupils in class.
In March, the Sunday Times reported that the South African Council for Educators (Sace) had drafted a 124-page handbook on how teachers in primary and high schools should deal with violent situations.
The scenarios — based on real-life events in local classrooms — include one pupil stabbing another with a pair of scissors, a pupil under the influence of drugs and alcohol shoving a teacher, and a bully waiting to confront a teacher outside school.
In March, a grade 9 pupil from Sizwe Secondary School in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, was stabbed to death. The alleged attacker was a grade 11 pupil. An 18-year-old grade 10 pupil from Reiger Park Secondary School was also fatally stabbed.
In February, a group of Durban schoolgirls was suspended after a video clip, allegedly of them viciously assaulting a fellow pupil, was shared on social media. In the footage, pupils were seen dragging, kicking and punching their fellow pupil.
Fourteen pupils were expelled in the same month from a Western Cape high school after pupils sustained stab wounds and other injuries in a gang fight.
In Gauteng, a 14-year-old boy from Freedom Park Secondary School was killed.
A year ago, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he wanted to pilot interventions including undercover police at schools and professionals to rehabilitate violent pupils.
This came as the Gauteng department of education discovered that at least 13 pupils in the province were facing criminal charges, to the shock and embarrassment of the MEC.