About 250 pupils from five primary schools in Khayelitsha were urged to stay in school and always behave in a respectable manner when the Safety Schools Initiative programme, under the Metropole East Education District, hosted a back-to-school event at Sobambisana Primary School, on Friday February 23.
Pupils from Sobambisana, Ntwasahlobo, Sakumlandela, Ummangaliso and Khusi primary schools conveged at Sobambisana for the event which was organised by the Khayelitsha police and the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA).
They also urged the pupils to avoid drugs or gangsterism. Under the theme, #schooliscool the pupils were told to protect their school environment and always represent it in a dignified manner.
Co-ordinator of the Safe Schools programme, Funiswa Didishe, told the pupils that they were safe and protected, appealed to them not to wear their school uniforms after school hours and urged them to take care of their school environment and read instead of wandering around their communities.
“Love your school. I appeal to you to never do something that would tarnish its image. I urge you to always display leadership qualities. The reputation of your school depends on your actions,” she said.
Police sector commander for Khayelitsha, Captain Ntandazo Mncanca told the pupils that bullying was among the reasons pupils dropped out of school and that bullies could be arrested and face criminal charges.
He told them that police were not “mean people”, but were there to protect them and ensure that everyone upheld the rule of law. Captain Mncanca urged the pupils to focus on their studies and be agents of change in their communities because without education they had no future.
School principal Mvuyisi Damba described the programme as effective and progressive, adding that the school faced a number of challenges and welcomed any initiative aimed at assisting them to render better and quality education.
Sanca representative Mnoneleli Ndlangalavu, told the pupils that they assisted children who were using drugs, which, he warned, had the ability to change someone’s behaviour, and result in pupils quitting school or people abandoning their homes.
He pleaded with the pupils to say no to drugs and to focus on their studies.