LEARNERS ADVOCATE FOR PARENTAL SUPPORT AMIDST SOCIAL CHALLENGES IN SCHOOL

Through a collaborative effort involving SAPS, SANCA, and Teddy Bear, it was revealed that Riverlea High School has a disproportionately high rate of crime compared to other schools in the area.
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  • Riverlea High School in Johannesburg South faces critical issues of gangsterism, substance abuse, and bullying, recently highlighted by the tragic fatal shooting of a student in front of classmates.
  • The Gauteng Department of Social Development, in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other stakeholders, has launched an intervention at Riverlea High to address these challenges and promote a message of peace within the school community.
  • Key efforts include reducing crime rates among grade 10 and 11 learners, increasing parental involvement, and providing counselling and support to students struggling with substance abuse, with optimism for positive change driven by the commitment of learners, teachers, and parents.

 

By Madali Chibambu

Riverlea High School in Johannesburg South has unfortunately found itself at the centre of concerning social issues, including gangsterism, substance abuse, and bullying.

Tragically, a recent incident involving the fatal shooting of a student in front of classmates has highlighted the urgency of addressing these challenges.

In response, the Gauteng Department of Social Development, in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS), has identified Riverlea High School as a priority for an intervention. Together with other state agencies and local stakeholders, efforts were underway to find solutions and promoted a message of peace within the school community.

Jane Baloyi, the coordinator of the Child Protection campaign, emphasised that the primary objective was to reduce the prevalence of crime in public schools, particularly among grade 10 and 11 learners.

Through a collaborative effort involving SAPS, SANCA, and Teddy Bear, it was revealed that Riverlea High School had a disproportionately high rate of crime compared to other schools in the area.

Despite the challenges, there was optimism about the willingness of both learners and teachers to effect positive change. Baloyi commended their interest and commitment to transformation.

However, challenges persisted, particularly regarding parental support for learners struggling with substance abuse. Baloyi stressed the importance of parents actively engaging in supporting their children to overcome these challenges, as their involvement is crucial in the fight against crime.

John Dlamini from SANCA echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the vital role of collaborative efforts in addressing substance abuse among learners. He highlighted the success of partnerships with SAPS and the role of counselling in supporting learners on the path to recovery.

One Grade 10 learner, whose identity remains protected, shared her personal journey of overcoming substance abuse with the help of Social Workers. She acknowledged the challenges posed by the presence of gangsterism within the school but emphasises the need for parents to prioritise their children’s well-being over social activities.

As the school community rallies together to address these pressing issues, it is evident that parental involvement and support are essential components in fostering a safe and nurturing environment for learners. Through continued collaboration and collective action, there is hope for positive change and a brighter future for all.

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