The recent shooting at Nyashanu Mission High School in Buhera that left one student dead is ghastly to contemplate on and a terrifying event for students, parents and teachers not only at this school, but also around the country.
What happened at the school was an unfortunate incident, which took away a young and innocent life. The son of the school’s headmaster brought his father’s pistol to the classroom where vacation lessons were taking place. Curious friends gathered around examining the loaded weapon. Unfortunately, in the excitement of touching the gun one of the students pulled the trigger and fatally shot another. We regret the loss of a young and innocent life.
Cases of students bringing guns to school and school shootings are a rare occurrence in Zimbabwe, but are uniquely and horrifically an American phenomenon. When it happens in Zimbabwe, we ask ourselves how a person could do such a thing; what motivated them to take a gun and bring harm to others. Most importantly, however, we ask how it is that a student obtained a firearm from his father in the first place? We further ask whether the gun was safely secured as required by the law.
We know for certain that in order to obtain a firearm in Zimbabwe, one must meet eligibility requirements by the country’s laws and issuing authority, which is the police. And when gun ownership permits are issued, authorities make sure that they are not putting a deadly weapon in the hands of an individual who is going to bring harm to those around them.
Owning a gun and living with someone who is absolutely not fit to own one gives that person access to a gun, which is extraordinarily dangerous. This was unfortunately the case at Nyashanu Mission High School.
We acknowledge that many people want guns for sport such as hunting or for self-defence purposes, but it is imperative to take every sensible measure to make sure that guns are locked away safely. We believe that the Nyashanu Mission High School headmaster’s gun was not well secured, hence his son had easy access to it.
But what are the reasons a student feels the need to bring a gun into the school environment? What could have motivated the Nyashanu High School student to bring his father’s gun to school? This is not clear and we can only conjecture. Perhaps he wanted to show it off to fellow students oblivious of the dangers around it. Maybe he wanted to feel in control and superior to the other students or possibly he wanted to just plant fear into the hearts of other students.
Studies elsewhere revealed that some students bring guns to school to establish a “tough guy-gangsta” image more than they want to shoot someone. They think that this is the only way they feel they can gain respect.
We believe that anyone who feels the need to bring a weapon into the school environment does not deserve the education being offered. What should be the penalty if they are caught? Without hesitation, we say that expulsion is in order for anyone caught with a weapon.
Bringing weapons into the school environment endangers so many lives, and creates the potential for pain and suffering. Certainly, it is against the law to carry an object that could do harm to another student.
Weapons, especially guns, are not something that can be tolerated in an educational environment. The truth is that guns are not necessary to a safe school life. Those who bring guns into schools premises are looking to start trouble. The results could be tragic as what happened at Nyashanu Mission High School.
Students who bring guns or other weapons at school violate the safety of everyone in their school, and that should not be tolerated. Students caught carrying actual weapons should receive a severe punishment, such as expulsion. It is our submission that the owner of the gun at Nyashanu Mission High School should be held accountable for failing to secure his gun.
We hope that an incident like this will not recur in future at any of our schools. We also trust that the nation at large will draw many lessons from this, most importantly to keep weapons such as guns off the school environment. We want students to feel safe and be safe at school.