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Police take action in Zithobeni schools

Officers speak to learners about drugs and other social ills.

Police officials from Bronkhorstspruit visited the schools in Zithobeni on April 9 to talk to them about school safety.

The officers from the social crime prevention and communication departments warned learners to refrain from school fights and the use of drugs.

Constable Munyadziwa Cathrine Ramovha said, “It has come to the police’s attention that most of the learners involve themselves in drugs and substance abuse which results in bullying and assaults.”

She said learners should refrain from using drugs because their minds are still developing and drugs will negatively affect them.

“Many learners are told a certain drug will help them concentrate. This is untrue. A lot of learners are dropping out of school due to addiction. If you involve yourself once in drugs, your future is ruined.”

Ramovha said many learners said they take weapons to school to protect themselves from bullies.

“You should not do that. A weapon at school can lead to suspension or dismissal, or even a criminal case.”

She said learners who felt they needed protection should tell their parents and teachers, who could inform the police to intervene.

The police also warned tavern owners not to sell liquor to children. According to Ramovha, most fights at school are the result of a clash between learners over a weekend.

“No learner over the age of 18 should be allowed to enter a tavern while in school uniform. The tavern owners should not allow children to sit outside their tavern or anywhere near the tavern.”

The police also asked parents to be part of their children’s daily routines.

“They must know the whereabouts of their children and what they are doing, and they must know their children’s friends and their families.

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“Some learners pretend to be going to schools only to find out that they went to remote places or someone’s house to drink alcohol and smoke. Some have even joined gangs who do not allow them to go to school.”

Ramovha said the community is also needed in this intervention.

“If you see a child doing a wrong thing in the streets, please intervene,” pleaded Ramovha.

The police warned learners not to fight as it might lead to assault, which is a criminal offence punishable by law.

“According to Criminal Justice Act,1977( Act 51 of 1977) a child older than 10 years but below the age of 14 is presumed to lack criminal capacity unless the state proves otherwise. Such a child can be arrested. A child older than 14, but younger than 18, can also be arrested.

“If learners encounter bullying, sexual assault, threats, abuse or any other concern, they should report it to their teachers or parents instead of taking the law into their hands,” said Ramovha.

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