A school should be a place of learning; but also a sanctuary where pupils can study in peace. A school should also be a place where youngsters are physically and emotionally safe.
Many of South Africa’s schools are, at the moment, the opposite of that quiet, secure environment as rapists and sexual predators continue to violate pupils at a frightening rate.
From teachers to school patrollers, these vile criminals have been preying on young people.
At the AB Xuma Primary School in Soweto, the authorities are investigating allegations that a school patroller sexually assaulted as many as 87 children.
And reports of rape of pupils are coming in on a daily basis. Those found guilty of such offences – all the more heinous because they steal the innocence of young people – should be locked up for a long time and removed from places where there are children.
We must improve security at schools and the vetting of those people who work with children. But we must also, as part of their education, tell our kids about abuse and how to report it … and assure them they will be safe if they do so.