Warrant officer Marinda Austin with her grandson, Anrico Junior O Kelly. Photo: Supplied
Police spokesperson Captain Coba Brits said the schools were visited by the station commander of the Villieria police, Colonel Silas Thoka and Warrant Officer Marinda Austin of the social crime prevention team.
They visited Clapham High School, Hoërskool FH Odendaal, Hoërskool Staatspresident C R Swart, LaerskoolVoorpos, Laerskool Totiusdal and Gereformeerde Gekombineerde Skool Dirk Postma.
“These learners are our future and it is so important that they are kept safe,” she said.
“They should also be aware of the warning signs and what to look out for in terms of crime.”
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Brits said the theme for the discussion was “new year, new beginnings”.
“It is a new year and a new year should be the start of a new beginning,” she said.
“Let us all make it our new year’s resolution to be more aware and safe in 2020.”
She said several themes were highlighted during the police visits.
Among them, were bullying and drug abuse.
“We urged learners to not walk in the street while holding a cell phone. Rather keep it out of sight to avoid making yourself a target,” she said.
“Also try to avoid dark and dangerous places and use routes that are busy. Be observant at all times.”
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Brits said learners should also think twice before getting involved in any sort of criminal activity.
“It does not take much to change a child’s life forever,” she said.
She said bullying was also a problem in many schools, adding that it was important that the necessary awareness was created about the subject.
Brits said one could never fully bully-proof a child, but added a few tips on how to empower a child against bullying.
“The most effective way of protecting children from bullies and preventing them from being bullies is to make sure they grow up in loving relationships, rather than relationships in which power or force are used to control them,” Brits said.
“Make sure your children always feel safe and free to tell you about incidents with the other parent or sibling(s) at school, at sporting events or even at home.”
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She said lonely children were more likely to be bullied. Keep lines of communication open.
“Supervise electronic communication, such as the internet, social networking and text messages,” she said.
She said parents should help a child think of ways to react to possible bullying.
“Coach a child to handle teasing,” she said.
“Bully attacks start with verbal harassment.
She said that in addition to teaching a child to stick up for him/herself, a parent may need to call or visit the teacher or principal.
“Take it seriously – if you discover that the bullying is getting worse when the bully finds out that your child told you or if threats of physical harm are involved,” she said.
“Sometimes it helps to approach the bully’s parents.”
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