Safety issues run parallel to teaching in township schools

Schools in the Retreat-Lavender Hill-Steenberg Belt are working tirelessly to stem the tide of social collapse. The key drivers of safety, security and care and support are the Principal and his(her) Safer Schools Head/coordinator. The so-called soft issues are the ones that are difficult to fast track. One needs all the role players - government and non-governmental agencies to work in sync.  There is no short cut and one has to take literally one step at a time.

Retreat Safer Schools Cluster

Today we had our safer schools cluster meeting at one of my favourite venues, Blouvlei LSEN school. As usual, there is always such warmth and camaraderie at these gatherings.

Steenberg Safer Schools Cluster

The Arts and Culture Festival planned for 4 October

 There is quite a bit of excitement because the Arts and Culture Festival of the circuit is taking shape. There are already 15 schools that have committed. Chief concerns are raised about the transport logistics and the fact that the event is happening in the evening. Sideeqa  shares the arrangements they had to make to transport the learner artists to and from the "Safe Road to Fame" Talent show that the Lavender Hill Safer Schools Cluster hosted last year in Lavender Hill. This year, the debut festival of the Circuit is going to take place at the City Hall. The rationale is to expose the learners and their parents to other cultural spaces as well - to take them from their grey environment and show them what possibilities lie beyond their immediate world.

Creating these cultural activities and opportunities for our learners from the poor communities we serve presents their own challenges - additional safety measures that have to be put in place. The easy option would be to forego such initiatives because of the time-consuming planning and additional pressure on the schools. Yet, there is no talk of cancelling this festival. October will see about 600 parents and learners celebrating their artistic gifts in the City Hall! Powerful stuff!

Lavender Hill Safer Schools cluster
Key Safety Issues

The easy matters are ensuring that schools have their Access control measures and their contingency plans in place. The hard issues concern learner discipline, bullying, chronic learner absenteeism and parent apathy. These tough issues plague schools and there is no silver bullet in sight. All of us know that these mainly behavioural challenges are intricately connected to the dysfunctional, violent spaces our communities find themselves in.

Schools make Care and Support their business

Fortunately our heroes, the guardians of our vulnerable youth have not given up; thankfully they are pushing ahead, exploring creative ways to help us transform our broken youth.  When we celebrate Youth Day, we are also celebrating you, our often invisible guardians of the hundreds of children who may have fallen through the cracks if they did not enjoy your care and support.

Aluta continua, all our Super Community Builders!


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