From the news desk

School searches not enough

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Despite some positive results by Metro Police in trying to eradicate the scourge of violence and drugs in Mitchells Plain high schools, some have been less than optimistic about the initiative. The area’s cluster commander Major General Jeremy Veary has suggested that criminalising bad behaviour amongst students does little to address the root causes of the issue.

The campaign sees Metro Police conduct searches at various high schools in the Mitchells Plain area, confiscating any weapons and drugs that students attempt to bring onto the school premises.

On Monday, Mitchells Plain Education Forum chairperson, Colleen Horswell, backed the views of Veary, suggesting the searches would do little to address the root cause of why children found it necessary to bring weapons into schools. She was adamant the problem needed to be tackled in the early childhood development phase and government needed to invest more into early childhood development.

“Research has shown that children who are receiving quality early childhood development, are less likely to fall prone to gangsterism. They become achievers at school and they are less likely to drop out of school,” she explained.

Horswell suggested there were a number of issues leading to this type of behaviour amongst the youth, most notably poverty. She said it was imperative the issue be addressed by a collaborative effort from parents, schools and the relevant authorities in the safety and security sectors.

“Those are the people that really need to sort out the issue in terms of why is it that children bring weapons to school. I think that if a search happens today, the weapons will be confiscated, and tomorrow the same thing will be happening. We are not addressing the crux of the matter,” she said.

She questioned what the repercussions under the current system were, should a child be caught. Simply confiscating the weapon would not help address the issue and some form of discipline or suspension needed to take place as well.

Horswell emphasised the need for parents to be involved as well, claiming that many parents were not actively involved in their children’s lives. Thus the forum would be initiating a campaign within the next month, with the intention of getting parents more involved in the education of their children.

“Currently most of the schools in Mitchell’s Plain are no-fee schools, so parents think that because they are not paying anything they don’t have to be involved. But parents are the primary caregivers of their children and they need to be involved in their lives,” she said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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