n South African Psychiatry Review - Guns in schools : a closer look at accidental shootings : review article




Violence has become a pervasive part of the social fabric of South African society, and researchers have shown that young people are twice as likely as adults to be victims of at least one crime. As a result schools are frequently perceived as places associated with harm and fear. This paper sets out to briefly explore the policy context, describe some of the shooting incidents and considers some ways of addressing accidental shootings in school. While there are many concerns related to school violence, this paper focuses on accidental shootings.

Some simple steps are proposed to make students more aware of potential tragedies associated with guns.
  1. Schools should have periodic talks or lectures about the lethality of guns, especially with boys and students should be made aware of the incidents that have occurred in schools.
  2. Parents must be made aware that many youths get guns from home. Guns need to be locked-up, or not owned at all. Parents must be made aware in writing that they can be held responsible if a gun is taken from home by a youth and brought to school.
  3. Students should be made aware of the importance of immediately reporting if they see a gun or suspect that a student has a gun.
This should be done periodically throughout the school year.
These steps cannot guarantee a gun-free school or that gun-related violence will not occur; rather, they are steps that are useful in helping to prevent a tragedy, as they raise awareness and communication about guns in school.


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