South African schools are in an ongoing and growing battle with violence, drugs, bullying and crime. So what are some of the ways that our schools can help to fight back?
- Improve the security in and around the school campus
Take stock of potential security risks and try and resolve these. This can include everything from security fences and cameras, to lighting and emergency power. There’s even been talk of introducing metal detectors at the entrances to schools to deter learners from bringing weapons onto the school property.
- Form teams
In an emergency, you’ll need to respond quickly. Use staff members and get the school governing body involved to form emergency response teams that can help in times of crisis. Ensure that every member of your team knows what role they need to perform in an emergency – a fast response time could help save lives.
You could also use parents to patrol the school grounds or perhaps use school funds to hire a security company that might deter gang violence (A great idea to create security jobs in Gauteng).
- Define, publicise and practice your plan
Get a student council and parent body together and outline a policy that defines what behaviours are acceptable or not acceptable in your school. Train your faculty and staff on how to defuse potentially violent situations and promote active parent participation. Outline procedures for crisis management, medical emergencies and instances of violence. It’s also important that you drill the school on these procedures regularly.
- Focus on the faculty-learner relationship
They say that prevention is better than cure. Perhaps it’s possible to reach the learners before they drift into biolent or destructive behaviours. The best way to do this is to get to know your students and show that you care. The responsibility to initiate this comes from the teachers and parents. When young people feel invisible and insignificant, they will go through great lengths to get attention — even if it is negative attention. But inputting positively in their lives can help them feel loved and accepted. And when learners begin to feel that they belong and that they’re worth something, then their behaviours will begin to change.