Windhoek – In a booklet he compiled on young offenders and policing school violence, which was released to the media recently, a member of the Namibian police, Matongo Lunyandile, looks at the causes and effects of school violence.
He says there are two major reasons for school violence: (a) the inability of a school to provide safe, orderly environments, whilst communities around these school suffer from serious levels of crime and disorder; and (b) the level of crime and violence is dependent on the community context, because the learner population are members of the community.
Lunyandile notes that researchers have suggested that more than a lack of academic skills contributes to deviance in delinquents. The results that can be summarised as follows:
- Delinquents tend to reject the learner role more often than non-delinquents. Learners that violate school standards (discipline) pertaining to things, such as smoking during school hours, breaking dress code, classroom demeanour (manner), tardiness, relations with peers and challenging teacher authority are more likely to become delinquent;
- Delinquents tend to be more lazy, careless, irresponsible and inattentive than non-delinquents;
- School performance and delinquency is mediated by peer influence. Delinquents’ performance may also further be affected by their relationship with teachers and peers (classmates).
- The absence of warm, supportive relations between learners and teachers correlates with a lack of academic achievement. When teachers lack genuine interest in learners, those schools tend to be associated with higher levels of violence and vandalism.
One would also have to probe the relationship between social class and delinquency. Low socio-economic class experience can lead to status deprivation among learners, especially when they become aware that they cannot compete with the advantages of middle-class youths in school.
For example, when child is taken to school in an X5 BMW every day and other school mates walk to school, this child may to some degree feel more classy and powerful than his school mates.
This child is likely to bully others, hence and consequently becomes a delinquent. However, the existence of a relationship between social class and delinquency in school has mixed support, but what is clear is that there is an obvious relationship between school achievement and delinquency.
Many adolescent males who do poorly in school, regardless of social status, are more likely to become involved in delinquent behavior, as compared to those who perform well academically.