Bullying and gangs ‘not cool’

The Peer Educators at Scottsdene address their fellow pupils at the launch of the programme.

Scottsdene High School’s peer education programme aims to teach pupils that “bullying and gangsterism are not cool”, said project co-ordinator and teacher Roslyn Katts.

The programme is among several others at the school with the same theme.

“We have a lot of programmes to show the learners that there is more than just gunshots and gangs,” she said.

The Peer Education Programme is run by the provincial education department at various schools.

Principal Karel Cupido said the programme was part of the Western Cape Education Department’s Safe Schools project.

At Scottsdene, 14 pupils have been training as peer counsellors since earlier in the year.

“We asked for volunteers,” Ms Katts said.

The student volunteers then met after school where they took part in workshops that taught them basic listening and counselling skills. The programme was officially launched at the school on Monday June 26, just two weeks after a 15-year-old was stabbed in the neck at the school and died (“Second attack kills schoolboy”, Northern News, June 21)

At the launch, several of the school’s partners, such as Denver Dreyer of iDEA, an anti-drug mentoring programme, and Captain Gerhard Niemand of Kraaifontein police station, gave motivational talks. Captain Niemand encouraged the peer educators to take part in the Youth Desk initiative at the school. The Youth Desk project was launched by police in 2015 at schools in Kraaifontein to help combat crime.

“It was to train the children to fight crime,” he said. “If there is a Youth Desk working closely with police, doing crime prevention, then crime in the school will be less.”

At the launch last week, Captain Niemand told the youth to use their new school building to motivate them to turn over a new leaf (“Scottsdene opens its doors”, Northern News, May 24).

“This is a new school, new beginning, new ideas and new lifestyle,” he said. “No more gangsters.”

Mr Dreyer encouraged the youth to finish their schooling and “gain knowledge” because their lives will be governed by the choices they make.

He echoed the prevailing message to stay away from gangsterism and drugs.