By Loushe Jordaan-Gilbert
As Matric exams come to an end, the stress for parents have just begun. While students are out celebrating their academic milestone, concerns have been raised about “pens down” parties that have become a tradition in celebrating the end of school. Earlier this week suspected matric celebrations took a turn for the worse at Clifton’s popular 4th Beach when a 16-year-old boy was stabbed and fatally wounded. According to police spokesperson Novela Potelwa plans have been made to ensure that the police are aware of where the parties might be hosted.
“The necessary plans have been made at several police stations within the province where celebrations might take place. The identified places include amongst others Plettenberg Bay (matric rage), Camps Bay, Wellington and numerous clubs,” she said.
Potelwa further said that even though the police department made several arrangements to ensure that young people are always safe, it is still the responsibility of the individuals to ensure that they don’t become reckless at these parties.
“In anticipation of scores of young people descending on the identified areas, planning meetings started early in the year. Vigilance and taking responsibility at all times are encouraged.”
Bronagh Hammond from the Western Cape Education Department said the department tries to ensure that matriculants celebrate the end of their academic career responsibly, however during this time of year things spiral out of control.
“All we can do at the department is make sure we install the behavioural and moral values in our learners through our Life Orientation curriculum. All we can do is make sure that learners know the dangers of using substance abuse and consuming alcohol during this time. We also warn them about the dangers of the road, but there are certain things that are just out of our control.”
Hammond said that the usual spots where the young adults generally visit are Plettenberg Bay and Hermanus.
“Various plans have been set in place to ensure that no tragedies are recorded and the host venues of these particular “pen down” parties also made the necessary arrangements to make sure that everything runs smoothly,” she stated.
Hammond further stated that the matric parties are not the only thing that should be of concern. She encourages parents to focus on the younger pupils as well as they also tend to celebrate the end of their academic year with alcohol and or drug abuse.
“We advise parents to not only focus on the “pen down” parties because all grades celebrate the same way. It is unfortunate to say that children inherit this behaviour from their parents. We at the department are encouraging parents to keep a close eye on their children and know the crowd they are associated with at all times.”
Hammond said it is common for cases of sexual violations to be recorded during his time especially when alcohol is involved.
“We urge learners to be careful and to make sure that they are never alone and always have a responsible driver with them. As the school holidays are officially upon us, the department has made various activities available at schools to ensure that learners of all ages are safe while many parents are still at work during this time of year.”
Should parents and learners need any other form of assistance, they can contact the Safe Group hotline on 0800 45 46 47 where parents and learners would able to consult councillors and or social workers during the holiday season. VOC