School pupils march against vi­o­lence

Talk of the Town - - NEWS - TK MTIKI

Plac­ards were lifted high and peace­ful marchers sang songs as Mty­obo Pri­mary School pupils par­tic­i­pated in their school’s own “16 days of ac­tivism” pro­gramme.

Pupils and teach­ers as­sem­bled at the school premises and headed to Ne­mato Po­lice Sta­tion where a pe­ti­tion ap­peal­ing for safety was read by grade 5 pupil Akha Mz­imba.

But be­fore ar­riv­ing at the po­lice sta­tion, the mes­sage op­pos­ing abuse and vi­o­lence against women was heard loud and clear through the songs and plac­ards.

Among the mes­sages on the plac­ards were: “No­body should touch my pri­vate parts”, “My body be­longs to me” and “Stop child abuse and vi­o­lence”.

The pe­ti­tion was read aloud by Mz­imba in the pres­ence of War­rant Of­fi­cer Lungisa Gusha.

The pupils de­manded reg­u­lar pro­tec­tion at schools and in all parts of the com­mu­nity.

It also sug­gested crime aware­ness pro­grammes be set up in schools and com­mu­ni­ties.

So­cial me­dia was also pre­sented as an ideal plat­form to en­gage the com­mu­nity on crime.

Be­fore leav­ing po­lice with the pe­ti­tion, Mz­imba read the fol­low­ing: “We want to be pro­tected all the time. In school we want po­lice to look af­ter us dur­ing the day, even when we are hav­ing sports days with other schools.”

Pupils were also of the view that as­sign­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer to each school could im­prove things, rather than at­tend­ing crimes that had al­ready been com­mit­ted.

“We need to have po­lice look­ing af­ter each school al­most ev­ery day. We need our teach­ers to have work­shops on vi­o­lence and abuse,” she said.

It also ap­peared that pupils were no longer feel­ing safe on their way to and from schools.

“We need to be es­corted when we are on the way to and from school,” she said.

Po­lice vis­i­bil­ity was of para­mount im­por­tance, ac­cord­ing to the pe­ti­tion.

“In our lo­cal shops we need to have po­lice mov­ing up and down the street to look at safety,” Mz­imba said.

“SGB mem­bers, par­ents and a po­lice del­e­gate should come and have de­vo­tions with us at school ev­ery Mon­day,” she added.

Gusha re­ceived the pe­ti­tion pos­i­tively on be­half of sta­tion com­man­der, Lt Col Cowan Cannon, whom he said was on hol­i­day. He will re­turn to work on Mon­day.

“Your pe­ti­tion is heard,” he said. He as­sured teach­ers that they would re­ceive a re­sponse on Mon­day.

“Teach­ers, par­ents and po­lice need to work to­gether be­cause po­lice alone can­not end this [crime],” he added.

Prin­ci­pal Mava Booi said they were work­ing to­gether with the health de­part­ment and SAPS to en­gage pupils on dif­fer­ent top­ics in re­la­tion to child abuse.

He fur­ther men­tioned that they worked closely with the de­part­ment of so­cial de­vel­op­ment and that abuse cases han­dled by so­cial de­vel­op­ment of­ten got bet­ter at­ten­tion.

How­ever, he high­lighted the chal­lenge of pupils who were not keen to dis­close this kind of abuse.

Pic­ture: TK MTIKI

VOIC­ING THEIR GRIEV­ANCES: Mty­obo Pri­mary School pupils and some teach­ers marched from the school to the Ne­mato Po­lice Sta­tion last Fri­day to hand over to po­lice their pe­ti­tion on child abuse

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.