The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has warned that police and law enforcement will be on high alert at schools on Guy Fawkes Day on Thursday. The department is concerned by the numbers of learners who do not attend school in order to participate in Guy Fawkes Day activities. Often learners are thrown with paint, eggs and even more hazardous substances when they leave school. The department’s Jessica Shelver said over the years, they have seen increased absenteeism at schools in certain Cape metropole areas.
“Every year on the 5th November we receive reports of learners behaving irresponsibly. Some learners do not attend school in order to participate in activities that potentially dangerous. These activities include throwing paint on other children when they leave school. These bullying tactics and intimidatory behaviour are simply unacceptable and should be condemned by the community,” said Shelver.
“We have contacted SAPS and the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement and requested that they are visible in areas where this practice has traditionally been common, particularly around the schools. We urge all communities and parents to discourage such activities in their neighbourhoods.”
Not only does Guy Fawkes activity place children’s safety at risk, it has also resulted in further absenteeism at schools as some learners fear being attacked or targeted by the other children doing these things. Shelver said while schools will manage learners at the school level, parents must take responsibility for their children by supporting their schools in ensuring that their children attend school on Thursday.
“Thursday is a normal teaching and learning day and therefore normal school hours apply. We also ask parents to dissuade their children from participating in such activities and ensuring there is no disruption of schooling. We want parents to also ensure that their children are supervised after school hours.”
Other tips include monitoring children’s behavior and checking their school bags for any fireworks or other materials such as paint before leaving home. Learners are not permitted to bring any fireworks into school grounds.
“Our primary concern is the continued orderly functioning of our schools and the general safety of all children at a time where disruptive and disorderly behavior seems to be the ‘order of the day’. I appeal to parents and communities to work together to ensure minimal disruption in our schools and communities,” said Shelver. VOC