Malvern SAPS place emphasis on school safety

W/O Radhika Marimuthu with some of the pupils from Malvern Primary School.

The role of the parent, the teacher and other supporting organisations come to the fore when safety of children at schools is addressed. These role-players are crucial in helping a pupil face and deal with challenges as they arise.

Communications officer of the Malvern SAPS, W/O Radhika Mairmuthu, said although many schools are safe, they can be susceptible to crime and violence as other environments if opportunity exists.

“There are no easy answers to the disturbing situations that children find themselves in today, but it is clear that joint efforts between parents, teachers, law enforcement and other supporting  role-players are essential. For most of their lives, children spend more time at school than anywhere else other than their own home,” she said.

Factors such as peer pressure, group conflict and dysfunctional homes all play a role in the teenager’s attitude to school and perception of life holistically.

ALSO READ: Five tips to ensure your child’s safety at school

Even the most obedient child can be swayed by peer pressure and the accompanying acceptance by the group. Such a child can engage in acts that they don’t ordinarily participate in.

The yearning for acceptance by the alpha group at school can be a trigger that propels children into performing initiation acts, bunking, engaging in drugs and substance abuse.

Parents and teachers are the first detectors of these changes in behaviour. Parents can assist in shaping children’s lives by.

“Talk to them about their day. Sometimes children won’t tell right away if they are having problems at school. Ask children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable,” explained W/O Marimuthu.

She also offered the following advice:

  • Children should adopt the buddy system and walk in groups to and from school.
  • They should also go in groups to extracurricular activities.
  • Children must inform parents, siblings and guardians where they going to and with whom.
  • Contact numbers and addresses must be given to parents and elder siblings.
  • As far as possible, parents should drop and fetch their children or have safe reliable lift clubs to school and for other activities encouraged.
  • Look for warning signs, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing and loss of appetite.
  • Teach children to resolve problems without fighting through mediation and meeting each other half way.
  • Helping the conflict by balancing the situation will show the children a way forward instead of resorting to violence.
  • Explain that fighting could lead to them getting hurt, hurting someone else, or earning a reputation as a bully.
  • Talk to them about other ways they can work out a problem, such as talking it out, walking away, sticking with friends, or telling a trusted adult.
  • Keep an eye on your children’s internet usage. Many schools have computers with internet access.
  • Ask your children’s school if pupils are monitored when they use the internet or if there is a blocking device installed to prevent children from finding explicit websites.
  • Talk to your children about what they do online, which sites they visit, who they email, and who they chat with.
  • Let them know they can talk to you if anything they see online makes them uncomfortable, whether it’s an explicit website or a classmate bullying them or someone else through email, chat, or websites.

 

  AUTHOR
Yoshini Perumal
Journalist

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