n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Educators' perceptions, experiences and observations of school violence in Lesotho

Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The aim of this article is to report on an investigation into a group of Lesotho secondary school educators' perceptions, experiences and observations of school violence. The research instrument was an adapted version of Joshi and Kaschak's (1998:213-215) violence and trauma questionnaire. The universum consisted of educators from secondary schools in Lesotho. A total of 285 completed the questionnaires, of which 16 were omitted because of missing data. This study found that the respondents mostly witnessed learners being threatened, and attacked or assaulted by fellow learners at their respective schools. Only 31, 23% of the respondents have never seen incidences of physical violence among learners. Although 81, 25% of the respondents indicated that they have never witnessed incidences of learners attacking or assaulting their educators, learners assaulting their educators is a reality in some secondary schools in Lesotho. It was furthermore found that educators are not only the victims of school violence; some of them are the perpetrators of violence. Descriptions of educators initiating strikes and instigating learners to physically and verbally abuse their colleagues paint a harsh picture of rotten collegial relations in some schools in Lesotho. The use of drugs seems to be prevalent among educators and learners in Lesotho. The carrying of weapons, another important risk-related behaviour, also seems to be a problem among learners, and to a lesser extent among educators. From the foregoing, it seems as if school violence is far too common. A concerted effort is therefore needed by all role players to develop and provide schools with effective programmes to address school violence. Ideally, such programmes should merge the technological with the benevolent. However, in the light of the unpredictability surrounding some acts of school violence, and taking into consideration financial constraints, it is suggested that a humane approach to violence reduction be adopted.

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