Student bodies, teacher unions, education activists and school governing bodies have collectively condemned an incident in which a teacher was allegedly attacked and stabbed by a fellow educator at a North West school.

The education structures have also called on the Department of Education to prioritise security and access control at school premises.

The 64-year-old teacher from Tolamo Primary School at Letlhakaneng village near Brits allegedly attacked and stabbed a 47-year-old female educator at Tshefoge Primary School on Monday.

The teacher, who was allegedly stabbed multiple times on her neck and back, is in a critical condition at a North West hospital.

Reports revealed that the suspect was caught by other teaching staff while trying to flee. It is reported that the suspect forcefully entered the premises wearing a balaclava and stabbed the victim in the school hall.

The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the North West condemned the teacher’s actions, calling it disturbing, and called for tighter security at schools.

The union Secretary Els Themba said “As a union, we are very concerned about what happened, especially within the school premises. But this confirms our concerns about school safety. The department should really address the issues of safety and access control.”

When asked if the actions of the teacher warranted dismissal, Themba said “After an assessment of what took place that day, a decision should be taken.”

The Congress of South African Students joined the union in condemning the stabbing. Speaking to Pretoria News yesterday, spokesperson Douglas Ngobeni said the teacher should be dismissed with immediate effect.

“The police must help get that man to change from that casual clothing he teaches in and help him into orange overalls.”

National Association of School Governing Bodies secretary-general Matakanye Matakanya said teachers were untrusted to be parents to learners.He said “A teacher is a parent to children. In this case, it looks like we have entrusted our children to a thug. We call upon the department to keep our schools safe”.

Basic Education Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said yesterday that the department was still gathering information on the incident, but they condemned it.