Violence in schools : a recipe for disaster.
A plenitude of media and research reports suggest that aggressive behaviour amongst the youth is becoming more confrontational, violent and common place. Factors spawning violence in schools are numerous and complex and include socio-economic and political inequities. This study not only reflects on the nature and scope of violence in schools, but focuses specifically on teachers as victims of violence. A broad based definition of violence has been used to include both insidious and physical forms of violence against teachers. In the first phase of data collection, the quantitative method was used to gather information via questionnaires. In the second phase, narrative stories were developed from semi-structured interviews using the qualitative methodology. Both these methodologies have been used in a complementary manner to give depth and enhance the meaning of the data. The analysis indicates that the prominence and pervasiveness of violence against teachers is staggering. The absence of effective structures, mechanisms and policies to stem the tide of violence has further aggravated the problem. The potential for conflict within the school context is underpinned by tension created by transient values. The youth do not have a core set of values that give direction to the decisions that they make. The consequence of this gap is unpacked in the "Core Values-Vacuum (CV2) Theory" that has been proposed in an attempt to understand violence in schools. The study concludes with the idea that there is no single factor that can explain violence in schools. However, the major causes and impact of violence identified provides a foundation for the conceptualisation of future safety and security initiatives in schools.