n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - An exploration of learners' views on certain aspects of school safety

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This article explores the experiences of safety of a non-probability sampled research population of public school learners in Tshwane South. Results reveal that about seventy percent (70.8%) of the learners felt safe at school, while nearly one third (29.2%) felt unsafe at school. Male respondents, learners in the older age group and in the more senior grades felt more unsafe in the school situation. The findings about the observation of school violence indicate that learners in the Feel Unsafe group observed much more verbal aggression on a regular basis in the school environment than learners in the Feel Safe group. The group who feel unsafe in the school environment also had considerably more experience of being the victims of physical aggression or being threatened with physical violence, in the form of hitting, kicking and pushing and being threatened with harm.

The findings of the study indicate that the following characteristics can be ascribed to a typical learner in the sample who feels unsafe in the school situation:
  1. demographic characteristics: learner is male, over 14 years old and in the more senior grades (Grades 9 and 10)
  2. observation of school violence: learner regularly observes verbal and physical aggression in the school situation
  3. experience of school violence: learner has a lot of experience of physical aggression and threats of physical violence
  4. school adjustment: learner experiences a considerably high incidence of loneliness, social dissatisfaction, disliking school and school avoidance
  5. interpersonal relationships: learner is socially isolated, less willing to support friends, has a relatively small circle of friends and finds it difficult to make new friends
  6. behavioural adjustment: learner will probably tend to have low self-esteem, be more prone to depression, more easily experience higher levels of anxiety and exercise less selfrestraint.


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