Redirecting...

Chapter 14

SECURITY AND HEALTH

14.2 CAUSES OF VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS AND POSSIBLE INTERVENTIONS

14.2.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The Criminal Procedure Act, Act 51 of 1977 as amended [CPA]

 

GUIDELINES

  • Guidelines for the consideration of Governing Bodies in adopting a Code of Conduct for Learners (Published under General Notice 776 in Government Gazette 18900 of 15 May 1998) [NG SGB CC]
  • Bullying in schools [NG BULLYING]
  • Cyber Bullying – An Initiative of the Department of Basic Education [NG CYBER BULLYING]

Gauteng

POLICIES

  • Gauteng Province: Anti-bullying Policy Exemplar 2015 [Reference B3 ANTIBULLYING]

 

CIRCULAR

  • Circular 74 of 2007: Management of suspension and expulsion of learners in public ordinary schools [Reference B3 74/2007]

14.2.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Violence in Schools and Possible Interventions

  1. Bullying
    • Indicators of a bullying problem at school (Also read Gauteng Newsletter 24/01/2017)
      Learners who are being bullied will more than likely not speak about it. But they may show behaviour that will give educators a clue of what is happening. There may be other reasons they act like this, but watch out for bullying if a learner:

      • Is afraid to walk to or from school, or continually changes their route to school;
      • Is unwilling to go to school and is absent often or feels ill all particularly in the morning before school;
      • Begins doing poorly in his/her school work;
      • Becomes withdrawn;
      • Has unexplained scratches and bruises;
      • Becomes distressed and anxious, or stops eating;
      • Is different in some way from his/her peers e.g. being handicapped, being of a different race group from most of the children in the school, or being smaller than most of the children in the school.
    • The bully will often:
      • Be physically stronger than his/her peers;
      • Dislike school and be generally unhappy;
      • Experience problems at home, in particular witnessing violence at home;
      • Be exposed to inconsistent, harsh, physical punishment.
        If you suspect that bullying is happening to a learner, observe his or her actions during break and offer to help the learner to resolve the problem. You should speak to the learner in private to avoid further intimidation by the bullies. To give support to the learner who is a victim of bullying, follow the guidelines which detail how to assist victims.
    • The causes and effects of the problem
      To develop a whole school programme that addresses problems of bullying, first map out the causes and effects of the problem.

      • What form does the bullying in your school take? Some schools report predominantly physical abuse and some report mainly teasing and emotional abuse. Often emotional abuse takes place but young people can more easily hide it and educators are therefore not aware of it. Both kinds of bullying should be taken seriously. In fact some studies even show that children are more likely to commit suicide if they are victims of emotional abuse than if they are victims of physical abuse.
      • Who does the bullying? Some schools identify one-on-one bullying while others report bullying between groups of children. Also, bullying may differ from girls to boys; and from school to school. Typically boys are more likely to use physical violence and girls are more like to use emotional abuse – but this may not always be the case. Do some young people enjoy more status because of their involvement in particular groups such as sports teams or gangs, and does this make them more likely to bully others?
      • When does the bullying take place? Most schools indicate that bullying is most likely to take place at break time or after school. This is because children are often unsupervised at these times, or not as closely supervised. At these times children are also usually mixed in terms of age and gender, making it possible, for example, for bigger children to bully smaller ones.
      • Where does the bullying take place? Some areas are harder for educators to monitor than others, such as the playground, toilets, etc. It is important to identify those areas in which bullying are likely to take place.
    • Prioritise the issues to tackle in the short term and in the long term
      Decide which cases can be dealt with in the short term (in one year). Basing decisions on the answers given to the above questions, decide which causes should be dealt with in the long term.
    • Possible partners
      • Caregivers – will be able to tell you whether bullying also takes place at home. They can also help reinforce the lessons learned at school about bullying.
      • School governing body – can assist with drawing up an anti-bullying policy or dealing with cases of bullying.
        Once you have set up partnerships and decided how you will communicate and work together, call a meeting to brainstorm what kinds of interventions you can start with. Start by looking at the causes and effects of the problem that you outlined at the start. Try to design interventions that tackle the causes of the problem. Young people are often the best source of information as they are the ones who experience bullying. Try getting them involved in discussion groups or role-plays to brainstorm some of these issues.
    • Intervention programme
      Below are a few examples of interventions that worked in schools. Some may be helpful but remember that each situation is unique and needs its own specific intervention.

      The Problem Successful Interventions Useful Resources
      Bullying can be subtle and it is hard to decide what is bullying and what is just ‘harmless teasing’. Some schools have developed a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to bullying. This involved creating a policy and set of rules around bullying. Learners were asked what bullying was taking place and what should be done about it. Meetings were also held with educators and parents. The rules they developed included the following:
      · We (learners and staff) agree that no learner will be permitted to bully or put down another learner.
      · We (learners and staff) agree that we will come to the aid of any student being bullied or put down, by telling a bully to stop and/or by getting help from an adult.
      If you don’t want to develop a policy, get learners involved in drawing up a ‘Bill of Rights’ for the school that will address bullying.
      The involvement of parents and educators. This may require that they become informed about how serious a problem bullying is in the school, so that they are willing to make their time available.
      Educators are often unaware of bullying. Appoint monitors to watch for bullying during the times that it is said to take place. Train the monitors in what to look out for and to whom to report it. Make learners aware that stopping bullying is everyone’s job – even if you are not a bully or a victim. A person to train monitors. This should be someone who is knowledgeable about the forms that bullying takes and some of its possible causes. A group of children (preferably older children) who are not implicated in bullying should be selected to act as monitors.
      Programmes can prevent bullying but this does not help children who have already been victims of bullying. Have group counselling sessions to address issues such as self-esteem, assertive­ness and conflict management. If this is not possible, young or new learners could be assigned a mentor who has to make sure that they are adjusting and are not experiencing too many diffi­culties. The counselling groups require a skilled group facilitator whom learners can trust. It is often better to have someone from outside the school. If you decide to use mentors, the mentors should be older children in the school who are good role models and are well respected among their peers.
    • Dealing with problems
      Common Problems Solutions That May Help
      Most research states how difficult it is to get children to talk about bullying to educators or parents. Have an anonymous box where children can leave descriptions of their experiences. Take every report of bullying seriously or children may fear not being believed.
      There is a lack of information about bullying for educators, and often little understanding of the problem. Contact one of the resources listed at the end of this section.
      There is a lack of interest among parents, governing bodies and educators to address bullying. Letting these groups know that nearly 40% of South African children are victims of bullying and that often children who are bullied become depressed and may even commit suicide. Also bullies are more likely to be arrested for committing a crime and are more likely to abuse their spouses in later life. Bullying happens in every school regardless of race or class.
    • Measuring the success of the intervention
      Work out a set of questions, for example:
    • Has bullying at break time decreased since monitors were put on duty and trained to deal with bullying?
    • Next, decide what information is needed in order to answer these questions. For instance, if you are monitoring the effects of introducing break time monitors, it may be helpful to keep a record of the number of reports of bullying that came to you through monitors and what the outcome of each report was.
    • Each action or intervention needs:
      • One or two key questions that will indicate whether the intervention has been a success.
      • A plan for answering these questions.
      • An indication of how the results of the evaluation will be addressed.
  2. Information on bullying
    • Bullying in South Africa is extremely common. Most experts attribute this to children having been exposed to violence in society. Being a victim of bullying has serious long-term consequences. Children who are victims of bullying are likely to be depressed, lack self-esteem, dislike school and are more likely to commit suicide. They are also more likely to smoke or take drugs. The effects of being a bully are also severe. Bullies are more likely to be arrested for committing a criminal offence as adolescents, and are more likely to become abusive towards their spouses in later life.
    • Educators often fail to recognise that bullies may also have low self-esteem, are fearful and may be exposed to violence and abuse outside school. It is therefore more effective to be firm but supportive of bullies and praise the things they do well rather than to punish them, especially physically.
    • Victims should always be taken seriously and reports of bullying should never be written off as ‘just rough and tumble child’s play’. Often children do not feel that they can talk to adults because they blame the victim. Victims of bullying should be aware that they have the right not to be abused and to report it if they are.
    • The most important resource that schools have is the large group of children that are neither bullies nor victims but are witnesses to bullying. Interventions should focus on bullying being everybody’s problem. All learners should know that they have a responsibility to stop bullying, or to report it, even if it is happening to someone else.
  3. Helpful National Contact Numbers
    ChildLine offers confidential support and counselling to children who are victims of bullying or who are bullies. Tel: 08000 555 55
  4. Gangs
    • Indicators of problems with gangs at school
      Young gangsters will often:

      • Have an attitude of fearlessness;
      • Deal in or take drugs;
      • Attend school irregularly and show a drop in performance;
      • Have strong codes of conduct in the gang context;
      • Display symbols of their gang e.g. tattoos and/or greeting signs;
      • Have great access to money;
      • Have macho, sexist attitudes towards women;
      • Befriend other young people who are in gangs and/or change their own friends.
    • Causes and effects of the problem
      To develop school programmes to deal with the problem of gangs, first map out the causes and effects of the problem.

      • Who are the learners involved in gangs? This may often be evident from the tattoos they have and clothes they wear. Leaving a gang is often a death warrant for a gang member so once gang members have been identified, this information should be handled sensitively.
      • Where do gangs operate or meet? Gangs are typically territorial and battles for turf can be violent and frequent. This is particularly the case in defence gangs who also engage in housebreaking and other crime. Different gangs are therefore likely to have different places from which they operate. Linked to this, think about when gang activities take place and how this affects the ability to intervene (e.g. do they operate during or after school hours?).
      • What actions do gangs carry out? Do they claim to protect the community? Some gangs focus on stealing and housebreaking; others are involved in drug dealing.
    • Prioritise the issues to tackle in the short term and in the long term.
      Decide which causes can be dealt with in the short term (in one year). Basing decisions on the answers given to the above questions, decide which causes can be dealt with in the long term.
    • Possible partners
      • SAPS Gang-Busting Unit (Cape Town), or local police station.
      • Parents – often parents are blamed for their children’s behaviour. A no blame approach is essential if schools and families are to work together.
      • The school governing body – can play a monitoring role in the prevention of gangsterism.
      • Churches, youth clubs and sports centres.
        Once you have set up partnerships and decided how you will communicate and work together, call a meeting to brainstorm what kinds of interventions you can start with. Start by looking at the causes and effects of the problem that you outlined at the start. Try to design interventions that tackle the causes of the problem.
    • Intervention programmes
      Here are a few examples of interventions that worked in schools. Some may be helpful but remember that each situation is unique and needs its own specific intervention.

      The Problem Successful Interventions Useful Resources
      Gangs are pervasive and very powerful in the community. Involve the community and families. Schools cannot solve a gang problem alone. Com­munity policing, street com­mittees or neighbourhood watches can be organised to curb gang activity at night. School premises can be used for community safety meetings and community policing forums, which can focus on tackling gang problems. Educators and other community role models can approach families of gang­sters to assist in any family problems and support the family.
      Gangs have sexist attitudes, which endanger women in the community. The Peace in the Community Campaign has had some success in creating an under­standing of gangsterism. In an area where gang rapes were common, the Community Action Group held an anti- rape campaign. Their approach involved workshops on rape, a door-to-door campaign to raise awareness, the distribution of a questionnaire to collect ideas from the residents on how to combat rape, and the distri­bution of a pamphlet on rape from Rape Crisis. Appoint a person with know­ledge of the effect of rape on individuals and communities to lead research and print mate­rials. Sponsors could be sought to publish awareness pamph­lets.
    • Dealing with common problems
      Common Problems Solutions That May Have Worked
      Parents deny their children’s involvement in gangs. This is a common problem, and is difficult to address. Remember that parents often deny their children’s involvement in gangs because they feel guilty. Blaming parents will only make matters worse. Focus on how schools can support and assist parents in dealing with the problem.
      It is very difficult to reform gang members and the consequences of leaving a gang are often severe for an individual gang member. Primary school educators have an important role to play in preventing gang behaviour. Children do not join gangs spontaneously and there are often warning signs. Look out for the indicators described above.
      Fear of gangsters makes community members unwilling to become involved in anti-gang programmes. The local police should always be informed of activities to address gangsterism. The police should be called if any situation is considered highly dangerous.
    • Measuring the success of the intervention
      • Work out a set of questions, for example:
        • Has gang-related theft decreased since neighbourhood watch patrols were established?
      • Next, decide what information is needed in order to answer these questions.
        • For instance, if you are monitoring the effects of introducing a neighbourhood watch programme, you will need to be familiar with local crime statistics and how these patterns change. The local police can assist in providing this information.
      • Each action or intervention needs:
        • One or two key questions that will indicate whether the intervention has been a success;
        • A plan for answering these questions;
        • An indication of how the results of the evaluation will be addressed.
    • Information on gangs
      • There are several important reasons why gangs are formed. Apartheid with its repressive laws played a role in the formation of gangs, as progressive youth organisations were banned and forced to operate underground. A general tolerance of violence has also exacerbated the problem.
      • In addition, apartheid policies have left many South African youth unskilled and therefore unemployed. Fifty percent of South African youth between the ages of 15 to 20 are unemployed, which often prompts a decision to join gangs for economic and social survival. In the face of the lack of opportunity, gangs offer a means to attain power and status, which would not otherwise be possible for young people. This desire for power often results in gangs picking on members of the community weaker or less able to protect themselves, typically women. Finally, personal experiences of abuse and prejudice lead to a desire for revenge, and may prompt young people to join gangs.
    • Helpful National Contact Numbers
      • Childline offers counselling to young people.
        Tel: 08000 555 55
      • Lifeline offers 24 hour telephone counselling service, HIV/AIDS, trauma, rape, youth counselling, training and outreach programmes.
        Tel: (011) 728 1347, (021) 461 1111, (031) 232323.
        Web site: http://www.lifeline.co.za
      • NICRO offers community victim support, youth development and diversion, and trauma counselling.
        Tel: (021) 422 1225.
        E-mail: info@nicro.co.za
        Web site: nicro.org.za
  5. Racism
    • Indicators of problems with racism at school
      • Conflict between learners being described in racial terms (e.g. the ‘whites’ are doing this or the ‘blacks’ are doing that).
      • Conflict between learners being described in religious terms.
      • Treating one group of learners differently to another.
      • Learners only socialising and participating in work groups with people of their race group.
      • Educators make remarks that reinforce stereotypes or generalisations about different race groups. This is often based on a lack of awareness of cultural, religious and other norms held by different race groups.
    • The causes and effects of the problem
      Map out the causes and effects of the problem.

      • Which race group is being discriminated against? Racial discrimination happens between many different groups. A group that may seem to be the victim at one stage may be the perpetrator at another time.
      • Where does racial prejudice take place? Is it in the classroom when educators advantage one race group over another? Is it on the playground when learners interact?
      • Why does racism take place? Do learners lack knowledge about other cultures, or are they taught prejudice at home? This question may be discussed by learners in groups.
      • What forms does racism take? Racism can range from being very overt (such as violent physical attacks) to being extremely subtle (such as educators not involving learners of a particular race group in a debate).
    • Prioritise the issues to tackle in the short term and in the long term.
      Decide which causes can be dealt with in the short term (in one year). Basing decisions on the answers given to the above questions, decide which causes can be dealt with in the long term.
    • Possible Partners
      • Parents – often children learn racism from parents and other significant role models. Parents may need to be made aware of the effects that racism is having in the school.
      • NGO’s – there are non-profit organisations that specialise in assisting schools deal with racism through anti-bias and prejudice training.
        Once you have set up partnerships and decided how you will communicate and work together, call a meeting to brainstorm what kinds of interventions you can start with. Start by looking at the causes and effects of the problem that you outlined at the start. Try to design interventions that tackle the causes of the problem.
    • Intervention programmes
      Here are a few examples of interventions that worked in schools. Some may be helpful but remember that each situation is unique and needs its own specific intervention.

      The Problem Successful Interventions Useful Resources
      Young people of different races do not interact with one another. Organise a sporting event in which the racial composition of the teams is mixed. Try to make sure that the sports chosen are ones in which team co-operation is required. These events should be held on an ongoing basis, in order that learners of different race groups have the opportunity to interact regularly. A sports educator who is sensitive to racism and the subtle ways in which it works. This person should also be a role model to pupils and well liked by them. Sporting facilities are also necessary but if these are not available, another event such as a debating competition between mixed race teams could be held.
      Children are learning their racial attitudes outside the school. Similar approaches to the one above can be taken with parents. For example, parent-learner sports days can help to break down racial stereotypes and build cohesion in the school. Parents must be willing to make time to attend. Organising such events can be time-consuming, and should be done by a person who is aware of the kinds of racial prejudice in the school.
      Classroom practices are based on the assumption that there are homogenous cultures and values in the school. Review the curriculum and think carefully about the ways in which it might reinforce a dominant culture. For example, does it place more emphasis on particular languages over others? Does it celebrate some religious holidays and not others? A person knowledgeable about diverse cultures and aware of the subtle ways in which racism can take place should be responsible for analysing the curriculum.
      Learners have very little understanding of how they can grow and benefit from a mix of cultures at school. Organise a cultural week at school, ask learners to talk about their culture and tradition, to bring food to share with others and to bring symbols that are linked to their cultures. Co-operation from the principal and other educators. Support from parents.
      When learners use their own languages, some groups feel “left out”. Encourage learners to learn different languages in the classroom; songs, common phrases and greetings are always a good way to begin. Willing and enthusiastic educators.
      The problem of prejudice reduction just seems too big for one educator to cope with! There are non-profit organisa­tions that can help you with bias and prejudice training in the classroom. The principal and parents should agree to bring someone into the school to help with prejudice reduction.
    • Dealing with problems
      Common Problems Solutions That May Help
      Learners are resistant to working or playing in mixed race groups. Be sensitive to how strong prejudices can be but also take a firm stand and make it clear to learners that race is not a justification for not taking part in mixed race events. If necessary a penalty for not participating can be introduced.
      When learners do report racist incidents educators are unwilling to pursue the matter. It is essential that all reports of racism be taken seriously. A system for complaints can be set up so that a learner who does not get any response to an accusation of racism can take it up with a person who is more senior and, if necessary, the school governing body. Learners should be made aware of the steps that they can take if they have been victims of racism and if their reports of racism have not been addressed.
    • Measuring the success of the intervention
      Work out a set of questions, for example:

      • Have interactions and socialising between learners of different race groups become more common?
      • Next, decide what information is needed in order to answer these questions. For instance, a record will need to be kept of the number of mixed sports teams, the number of learners who interact with people of other race groups, etc.
      • Each action or intervention needs:
        • One or two key questions that will indicate whether the intervention has been a success.
        • A plan for answering these questions.
        • An indication of how the results of the evaluation will be addressed.
    • Information on racism
      Although schools have recently become racially integrated, many learners still experience racism at school.

      • Reports of racism vary from derogatory remarks to physical violence between learners of different race groups. Other reports have shown that learners act out racist scenes that they have seen on television.
      • Many educators felt that there was little that could be done about racism and attributed it to ‘natural’ differences between people of different race groups. Comments such as these show the enormous amount of work that needs to be done with educators if learners are going to interact in a non-racist manner.
    • Helpful National Contact Numbers
      • Human Rights Commission aims to develop an awareness of human rights among the people of South Africa, and investigates complaints of violations of human rights and seeks appropriate redress.
        Tel: (011) 484 8300
        Web site: www.sahrc.org.za
      • Human Rights Watch Africa offers advice on human rights, in particular the Bill of Rights
        Human Rights Watch Africa : +27 11 062 2850
        Web site: https://www.hrw.org/africa/south-africa
  6. Guns and weapons
    • Indicators of gun use at school
      The use of guns at school increases the chances that violent conflict will result in injury or death. A key component to building safe schools is to ensure that the school becomes a gun free zone.
    • Causes and effects of the problem
      To develop a programme to reduce gun use at school, first map out the causes and effects of the problem.

      • What is the extent of the gun problem? Often this is difficult to assess, as educators may be unaware of the number of learners and educators who carry weapons. For ways of gaining information about the numbers of learners and educators in possession of guns see the intervention section below.
      • Who are the main perpetrators? Are any groups of learners regularly threatened or do certain groups threaten others?
      • Where do learners get guns? Is there a particular person who could be supplying them, do some learners possess them legally, or are they taken from family members?
      • How are learners getting money for guns?
        Often being able to answer these questions can lead more directly to the source of the need for ‘self-defence’, which may indicate that a learner is being seriously bullied and victimised.
    • Prioritise the issues to tackle in the short term and in the long term
      Decide which causes can be dealt with in the short term (in one year). Basing decisions on the answers given to the above questions, decide which causes can be dealt with in the long term.
    • Possible partners:
      • The local police;
      • The school governing body;
      • The Gun Control Alliance;
      • Parents
        Once you have set up partnerships and decided how you will communicate and work together, call a meeting to brainstorm what kinds of interventions you can start with. Start by looking at the causes and effects of the problem that you outlined at the start. Try to design interventions that tackle the causes of the problem.
    • Intervention Programmes
      Following are a few examples of interventions that worked in schools. Some may be helpful but remember that each situation is unique and needs its own specific intervention.

      The Problem Successful Interventions Useful Resources
      Guns are being brought to school without educators’ knowledge. Learners have easy access to guns. Some schools have assisted in setting up anonymous hotlines for learners to give information about learners who are carrying guns. Where possible, rewards are offered to learners who call with information. Although the school may be instrumental in setting up such a hotline, it should be co-ordinated from a police station. Police resources that outline the legislation on gun ownership and guns at school; Parents’ co-operation with the programme; Learners’ awareness of the hotline and trust in its confidentiality.
      Most gun programmes only address learners who have already brought guns to school. Some schools have developed curricula that help learners assess the risks of handgun ownership, resolve conflicts without violence, and generally make safer decisions. Educators familiar with youth violence and the role that weapons play in causing violence. Also a person who can facilitate confidential group discussions using role-playing, goal setting and leadership skills.
      Learners who have guns acquire status among their peers. Learners often idolise other learners with guns. Start an aggressive educational campaign that shows learners the effects that guns have and the risks that they take by carrying them. Get learners to sign a pledge that other schools can also sign, stating that they will act against guns and gun violence. Ensure that the learners themselves write the pledge. Learner’s Representative Coun­cils or other youth organisations to lead the pledge and motivate other learners to sign it. These learners should be role models to others.
      Part of the school is apathetic about the use of guns on school property. Start an inclusive campaign to make your school a gun free zone. Involve as many learners, educators and parents as you can. Provide educational inputs and strong motivations of why a gun free zone would be a good idea. The police will be of great help in such a campaign. So will Gun Free South Africa.
    • Dealing with problems
      Common Problems Solutions That Have Worked
      Learners are afraid to give educators information about learners with guns. The hotline should help with this. Alternatively, learners could be advised to give information directly to the police.
    • Measuring the success of the intervention
      • Work out a set of questions, for example:
        • Has the hotline been effective?
        • How many reports of guns received through the hotline have led to the arrest of the learner concerned, or to the confiscation of the firearm?
      • Next, decide what information is needed in order to answer these questions. For instance, if you are measuring how effective the hotline has been in reducing the numbers of guns at school, you will need to keep a record of how many calls were made to the hotline and how many of these calls resulted in the confiscation of the gun concerned.
    • Each action or intervention needs:
      • One or two key questions that will indicate whether the intervention has been a success.
      • A plan for answering these questions.
      • An indication of how the results of the evaluation will be addressed.
    • Helpful National Contact Numbers
      • Gun Free South Africa
        Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) is the lead organisation in the Gun Control Alliance, a network of organisations and individuals calling for stricter control of firearms in South Africa.
        Web site: http://www.gfsa.org.za/home/
        Tel: (011) 403 4590
        E-mail: gunfree@wn.apc.org
  7. Truancy
    • Indicators of truancy or low attendance of learners at school
      Truancy may be a symptom of:

      • Drug use;
      • Criminal activity;
      • Youth violence;
      • Violence at home;
      • Low self-esteem and depression;
      • Hopelessness and no sense of future;
      • Fear of being bullied;
      • Learning difficulties;
      • Pregnancy.
        Learners who are truant may be a victim of abuse at school or in the home. It is important for educators to find out the causes behind the truancy so that the learner can be assisted. To give support to the learner who is a victim of bullying, follow the guidelines in section one, which details how to assist victims.
    • Causes and effects of the problem
      To develop a programme at school that begins to deal with truancy, first map out the causes and effects of the problem.

      • Which children avoid school? Are they children with learning difficulties? Do they experience family problems or a lack of parental involvement?
      • What activities are children taking part in that keep them from school? Children may be reluctant to tell educators where they go during school hours but this is important information as it may explain why the learners are away from school.
    • Prioritise the issues to tackle in the short term and in the long term.
      Decide which causes can be dealt with in the short term (in one year). Basing decisions on the answers given to the above questions, decide which causes can be dealt with in the long term.
    • Possible partners:
      • School governing bodies – can help to mobilise and alert parents about what is happening to their children;
      • Parents – should be informed about their children’s whereabouts. If learners are not at school their parents should know;
      • Police – attending school is compulsory for children over seven years old and ‘adopt a cop’ programmes have been used to address truancy;
      • Community members – can inform schools if they notice children out of school during school hours.
        Once you have set up partnerships and decided how you will communicate and work together, call a meeting to brainstorm what kinds of interventions you can start with. Start by looking at the causes and effects of the problem that you outlined at the start. Try to design interventions that tackle the causes of the problem at your school.
    • Intervention Programmes
      Here are a few examples of interventions that worked in schools. Some may be helpful but remember that each situation is unique and needs its own specific intervention.

      The Problem Successful Interventions Useful Resources
      Involvement in crime or drugs is often a cause of truancy Programmes in the United States have imposed curfews on young people at night. This can, with the co-operation of parents,  ensure that children’s activities are monitored at all times. Schools can agree to keep parents informed of children’s whereabouts during school hours and parents can keep schools informed of children’s whereabouts after school hours. Co-operation from parents and educators.
      Truancy is often a symptom of involvement with drugs or gangs. It is important to address the causes of the problem rather than the symptoms. Do some research into why children are absent from school? It may be that a child who has been taking drugs or who has joined a gang loses interest in school. There are projects that bring together community services, businesses and public and private agencies at schools to prevent children dropping out of school and to reduce related risk factors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, illiteracy, gang involvement, violence and teen pregnancy. The entire community, not just the school, needs to take responsibility for preventing school dropouts and delinquency. Absence from school has been referred to as a symptom of various problems. Think about whether these problems describe the learners who are absent from school. Offer counselling (or refer the child to Childline or Lifeline) to address the underlying problem.
      Parents are often unable to supervise their children after school. Setting up an after-school care programme deals with the issues of safety and protection of children, reduces truancy and improves school performance. Co-operation from parents, teachers and neighbourhood guardian projects.
    • Dealing with problems
      Common Problems Solutions That Have Worked
      Young people are reluctant to talk about the reasons for their truancy. Confidential counselling may help young people come to terms with the causes of truancy. This may require the school’s participation if truancy is a symptom of bullying or poor academic ability.
    • Measuring the success of the intervention
    • Work out a set of questions, for example:
      • Has truancy decreased over the last few months?Next, decide what information is needed in order to answer these questions. For instance, if you are measuring how truancy has decreased, you will need to keep records of how many learners are absent at what times of the week or month, and follow up the reasons for this.
    • Each action or intervention needs:
      • One or two key questions that will indicate whether the intervention has been a success;
      • A plan for answering these questions;
      • An indication of how the results of the evaluation will be addressed.
    • Information on truancy
      Truancy is often a symptom that something else is bothering a learner. Keeping young people in school is an important step towards keeping them out of trouble. Young people who skip school are not only more likely to be involved in crime and drugs during school hours, but truancy is also often the first step to greater involvement in criminal activity. Studies have shown that two-thirds of male juveniles arrested while truant tested positive for drug use. Many police departments have found that rising daytime crime can be traced in part to truancy.
    • Helpful resources
      Truancy is often a symptom that the learner is facing other types of problems such as drug or alcohol abuse, or being a victim of abuse in the home. Use the numbers listed elsewhere to assist with these problems.
    • Helpful National Contact Numbers
      ChildLine offers counselling to young people.
      Tel: 08000 555 55
  8. Witchcraft
    • Indicators of a witchcraft problem at school
      • Attacks on people in the community because they are supposedly involved in witchcraft.
      • Attacks are often on women or girl children.
      • Typically misfortunes blamed on witches are illness, school failure or even death. If these things are prevalent in a community that believes in witchcraft, ‘witch purging’ may take place.
    • The causes and effects of the problem
      Map out the causes and effects of the problem.

      • Who is accused of being a witch and who is accusing them? Women are most likely to be accused of witchcraft due to a combination of cultural beliefs and their lack of power in society. People have been known to accuse those whom they consider to be enemies or of whom they are jealous. It is therefore very important to identify who is accusing a person of witchcraft.
      • When did the accusations start? Was there any particular event that led up to it?
      • Where do the attacks on supposed witches take place? Are there particular areas where it is hard to monitor children?
      • What kinds of things are done to people accused of witchcraft?
    • Prioritise which issues to tackle in the short term and in the long term
      Decide which causes can be dealt with in the short term (in one year). Basing decisions on the answers given to the above questions, decide which causes can be dealt with in the long term.
    • Possible partners:
      • Traditional leaders or prominent community members;
      • Parents;
      • SAPS;
      • The Gender Commission.
        Once you have set up partnerships and decided how you will communicate and work together, call a meeting to brainstorm what kinds of interventions you can start with. Start by looking at the causes and effects of the problem that you outlined at the start. Try to design interventions that tackle the causes of the problem.
    • Intervention programmes
      Here are a few examples of interventions that worked in schools. Some may be helpful but remember that each situation is unique and needs its own specific intervention.

      The Problem Successful Interventions Useful Resources
      Witchcraft is rooted in traditional belief systems. Prevention of attacks should be the first priority. The SAPS in the Northern Province have developed a programme which includes a combination of education for community members and schools, protection for people accused of witchcraft, resettlement villages for those accused of witchcraft, and public rallies by chiefs, churches and politicians to change perceptions of witchcraft. The co-operation of prominent community leaders and the SAPS.
    • Dealing with problems
      Common Problems Solutions That Have Worked
      People are afraid to speak about witch purging, especially if many people have been responsible for the attacks. The targets of attacks are usually women. After being accused of witchcraft, a person is very unsafe. Try to be aware of rumours that are developing. Think of the indicators listed above and respond to any suspicion of witch purging. Education that promotes gender equality is important. Attacks on women are based on the assumption that women are ‘naturally’ jealous and are therefore prone to witchcraft. These stereotypes should be challenged through education. The SAPS in the Northern Province have settlement villages to protect people accused of witchcraft.
    • Measuring the success of the intervention
      • Work out a set of questions, for example:
        • Have attacks on ‘witches’ decreased?
      • Next, decide what information is needed in order to answer these questions.
        • For instance, if you are monitoring whether attacks on ‘witches’ have decreased, you will need to keep records of how many accusations were made before the programme and how many have been made since the programme. The local police can assist with gathering this information.
    • Each action or intervention needs:
      • One or two key questions that will indicate whether the intervention has been a success.
      • A plan for answering these questions.
      • An indication of how the results of the evaluation will be addressed.
    • Information on witchcraft
      • Witchcraft and rituals associated with it have historically been prevalent in South Africa, particularly in rural areas. Witchcraft in itself is not a crime and does not pose a threat to the community. Rather, it is the practice of witch purging or attacks on people thought to be witches that is of concern as it often leads to banishment, assaults on the person and even death.
      • Women are the primary victims of attacks on witches for several reasons. Firstly it is believed that witchcraft is passed from mother to child in breast milk. Women are also thought to be jealous and envious, which makes them prone to witchcraft, and women are thought to be weak and therefore practice witchcraft to gain control over others. Other explanations have been that with male migration from rural areas, women have been awarded a great deal of power and influence in the community. They are thought to use witchcraft because they have so much power.
    • Helpful National Contact Numbers
      Gender Equality Commission can provide advice regarding witchcraft-related crimes.
      Tel: (011) 403 7182
      E-mail: cgeinfo@cge.org.za
      Web site: http://CGE.org.za