Newspaper clipping – The Cape Argus – 10 September 2008
Safe Schools success boosts pupil pride
By Nomganesi Mbiza and Aanne Simpson
Mount View High School in Hanover Park is being hailed as proof that the Safe Schools Project can turn around “problem” schools, with special measures there boosting not only pupil pride, but also changing behaviour among the teenagers.
Principal Archie Benjamin said he used to have nightmares about the state in which he would find his school after weekends and holidays – but now things had been turned around.
Thanks to the national education department project, the school now has CCTV cameras, a perimeter fence, metal detectors, six unarmed guards and an alarm system. Situated in an area where gangs, drugs and violence are endemic, Mount View was previously plagued by vandalism and break-ins. But for a year now, there has not been a single incident.
Benjamin, who has been at the school for 30 years, told the Cape Argus:
Thanks to the programme, pupils now felt respect for their school, and
interaction between pupils and drug dealers had ceased on school property.
Firdaus Omar, Mount View’s safety officer, said the cameras were
not only used to monitor problem behaviour, but also to reward pupils
and help keep them motivated.
There were, however, still concerns about how pupils behaved outside
the school premises.
Even the pupils themselves were happy with the changes at their school.
Pupil Donna-Lee Steers said:
Another pupil, Kim Booysen, said drug dealers used to approach pupils
to sell them drugs.
The Safe Schools Project is a national initiative by the Education Department
to promote safety at schools in high-risk crime areas. Mount View High
was selected as one of the pilot schools across the nine provinces. The
project’s Nariman Khan said that while increased security measures
were important, pupil and community involvement were essential to assure
Aside from being part of this national initiative, Mount View is also
part of a provincial project involving 109 high-risk schools. Khan explained
that 60 of these 109 were selected for a pilot programme in which CCTV
was installed to test whether it had the effect of significantly reducing