This week Lindy Maloi from SAPS Brackendowns invited private security specialists, Fidelity ADT, Fox and 4th Dimension as well as representatives from Emergency Services in the area, to speak to the Grade One pupils at Brackenhurst Primary.
Maloi, who is responsible for 20 schools in the area, regularly visits the schools with different messages depending on the need. “The work we do generally ranges from unannounced searches to educational talks on anti-bullying, personal safety and anti-crime. We really try and empower the kids and discourage them from ending up on the wrong side of the law,” says Maloi.
Maloi says the sooner the kids realise that having a criminal record can have a negative impact on their future the better, particularly since what they do early in their lives definitely will impact them later on.
This week’s talk was on bullying and was presented by Linda Goodenough, Community Development Manager at Fidelity ADT. “Although the children were so little, I was astounded by their knowledge about bullying and how it makes them feel.”
The frightening reality is that bullying is alive and well in South African schools with as many as 30% of 6 to15 year olds having been bullied in the past year. A lot of emphasis is placed on cyber bullying which is a real threat but a bigger threat sits in the playground and the classroom. Children are five times more likely to be bullied at school than online and recent stats show that 87% of bullied children have in fact been bullied at their school.
Here are 7 possible signs which could indicate a bully:
- Hurting a person or group more than once on purpose whether through words or physical violence like hitting, pinching, pushing and shoving
- Forcing their way onto someone – either face to face or on the internet
- Whispering and giggling about others and calling them names
- Making things up to get someone into trouble
- Taking things away from their friends or children younger than them for example stealing lunch money or someone’s lunch
- Spreading rumours about someone
- Threatening someone – verbal abuse hurts as much as physical abuse
According to Goodenough, 16 000 11 to15 year olds are absent from school at any one time due to bullying. “Experts tell us about the huge impact bullying has on a child’s confidence and self-esteem. Children that are bullied are more likely to be depressed in later life and less likely to get a university degree However, it does not have to end that way however,” she says.
Goodenough explained to the kids that if they feel scared or bullied at any time they should:
- Speak to their mom or dad, a brother or sister or uncle or aunt or if it is happening at school, speak to a teacher.
- They may not want to do this, because it makes them look vulnerable and weak or they think it will make things worse. But if they don’t it will not stop. They have to stop it quickly.
- If they see someone else being bullied, they need to speak up, but do it confidentially because one does not want to be subjected to the same treatment.
- People that are being bullied need a friend. She encouraged the children to help someone if they could.
Goodenough applauded Lindy and her team for allowing her team to speak to the kids. “It is all about bringing the topic out into the open and empowering schools and children to put an end to the cycle,” says Goodenough.
And the last word from Maloi, “I am honored to have the support of the security companies to help me do this work in the interest of the children. The kids are our future.”
Linda Goodenough, Fidelity ADT Community Development Manager, with the children from Brackendowns Primary.
Rainbows, laughter and happiness – the children were treated to a water display by the team from Emergency Services.