𝗦𝗧𝗢𝗣 𝗦𝗖𝗛𝗢𝗢𝗟 𝗩𝗜𝗢𝗟𝗘𝗡𝗖𝗘
School violence is widespread, it occurs in all countries and affects a significant number of children and adolescents. It is mostly perpetrated by peers but, in some cases, it is perpetrated by teachers and other school personnel. According to a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) report of 2021, violence in educational settings is a daily reality that denies millions of children and young people the fundamental human right to education.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines school violence as youth violence that occurs on school property, on the way to or from school or during a school- sponsored event. A young person can be a victim, a perpetrator, or a witness of school violence. In some cases, the perpetrator (s) or victim (s) are adults within or from outside the school environment. Ideally, the school environment is a place of learning where everyone needs to feel safe as the safety and security of learners, teachers and school administrators directly influence learning outcomes. “Schools that are not safe or inclusive violate the right to education as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNESCO).
In Cameroon, as the case with other African and European countries, school violence has been on a steady rise. Though there are no official available data on the number of cases in schools in Cameroon, credible news outlets have reported numerous incidents of violence in secondary schools across the national territory. Looking at the current state of affairs and the alarming rate of occurrence of these violent acts, the school environment has become a risk zone for all academic personnel; students, teachers, and administrative staff all inclusive.
A couple of factors can be raised as to why there has been a rise in school violence. It has been established by the United Nations that there exist a relationship between violence in the community and that of the school. Violence from society has gradually eaten deep into the school milieu. Based on this premise, it is safe to say that the current security challenges and socio-political unrest in Cameroon has negatively affected the mentality of children and has influenced the rise in school violence.
The physical and psychological consequences of violence can be devastating which can result in early death. In cases where the victim does not die, violence survivors have to cope with terrible physical and emotional scars for a considerable period of time. Violence places at risk not only the health and life of the victim, but also their ability to learn and grow into adults who can create sound families and communities. Learning disability as a result of exposure to violence cannot be over-looked since it significantly affects the entire objectives why governments invest huge sums of money in financing education.
School violence takes different forms;
𝐏𝐡𝐲𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐕𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 (𝐩𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐤𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠)