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Proactive Steps Against Bullying by Prominent JHB School

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St David’s Marist Inanda, a boys’ school in Sandton, Johannesburg has joined a rapidly growing list of schools taking proactive steps to create mechanisms for pupils and staff to report abuse of any kind.

After a short trial towards the end of last year, St David’s has made the call to roll out the STOPit anonymous reporting system for the 2018 year as part of its broader human rights awareness programme.

“Our approach in working with children is to shape functional behaviour patterns and develop strong coping mechanisms to deal with current and future realities.

“For us, the STOPit App is one tool which allows us to inform and shape these patterns and mechanisms in both the child who may be bullying and the child who may be bullied. Any intervention that gives pause for thought about the consequences of behaviour before inappropriate behaviour takes place, by its very nature alters the pattern of behaviour.

“This process in itself is valuable. On the flip side, a child who feels vulnerable but doesn’t necessarily feel empowered to speak ‘out loud’ is given the ability to give voice to their experiences and emotions in a ‘safe’ way.

“In addition to alerting the responsible adults in the school to the situation, being able to articulate their experience in an anonymous manner often is the first step to being able to speak out loud about it.

“Our approach to working with children is primarily to remediate behaviour and restore relationships, not to act punitively as the first intervention. However, understanding the consequences of unacceptable behaviour is fundamental to this process,” Head Psychologist at St David’s, Lloyd Ripley-Evans.

STOPit allows pupils and staff to anonymously report any untoward behaviour in the school (and even in the home space for some pupils), using a simple cell phone app or web page.

Reports are received and managed internally by an appointed administrator at the school.

“It is imperative that schools take proactive action before incidents happen. When the bullies and abusers can be reported by anyone, anytime and anywhere, they think twice before committing any acts,” says Warren Hickinbotham, MD of Blank page Publishing, the local STOPit license holder.

To become a STOPit protected school, contact Warren on warrenh@blankpage.co.za

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