This article presents the results of a comparative investigation into educators’ experiences of
workplace violence in private and public secondary schools in Tshwane, Gauteng. Specific foci
are experiences of, exposure to and perceptions of risk and safety, and policies and prevention
strategies to combat workplace violence in school settings. A cross-sectional survey design was
used to gather data from 122 educators working at six schools in the Tshwane metropolitan
area. In addition to descriptive results, bivariate data analyses were conducted to identify
significant differences between public and private schools. Educators at public schools were
more likely to be aware of violence against a colleague; experienced more personal violence
in the form of physical and verbal violence; bullying; and vandalism by learners. They were
also at greater risk of victimisation in the form of unequal treatment and favouritism. The
opportunity to victimise educators is greatest during classes, especially in public schools . The
findings validate public school educators’ adverse views of safety and risk in the workplace.
The researchers made a number of recommendations, inter alia for increased awareness,
training and dissemination of information related to workplace violence among all school staff.
Furthermore, that the development and implementation of policies regarding workplace
violence must receive priority.