School Service

Have you ever got home from work, grabbed your mail on the way in and there staring you in the face is a white envelope with your name clearly printed on the front? That’s interesting you say to yourself as you tear it open. Oh no, you say, as you open it up to see a white page with SAPOL traffic on it, in the unmistakable red and blue. You read traffic infringement.. Speeding… and then some untenable amount on the end.

 That’s not me… I wasn’t driving the car… I was only…You know all the excuses…. Once you have calmed down, you admit….Yes it was you… Now the admitting part is really not the hard bit. If it was only a warning letter, would you speed again? Knowing human nature… at some time you probably would. It’s the sting on the end that hurts the most. The fine! Yes, we all do earn our money. It’s the fine that hurts the most. And yes you do get on line and pay it…back to the government.

Well Behaviour Management or Education, as I like to call it, is like that. School is a mirror of society in some ways. Basic rules are; all children are entitled to an education to reach their potential and be active, positive members of society. Teachers have a right to teach and children the right to learn. We all have the right to feel safe.

When a child or children are sent up to the office for an infringement, as part of the Play is the Way program, we sit down and talk about what happened. Very few ever lie about it… they are generally honest and admit what they have done. They fill in the paper work explaining what happened. One question we ask is, “What are you going to tell your parents when you get home”? There is a section on the Rethink note, where parents have to fill in recognising that they have seen it and that they have spoken to their child. We sincerely appreciate your support in this matter.

Now the sting part. Children have the option of sitting in the office for a period of time or going and helping in the school community. Some schools call it Community Service, we call it School Service, paying back. 99% opt to pay it back. They might pick up papers (using a bucket and tongs), do some gardening, help clean up an area. They are paying back to the school. If you ever ask any of them if they like doing it, they say it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be. It makes them feel better. They are learning something as they walk around helping and talking to an adult about life in general. The things that irk them…the things they like to do… things they could do better next time.

The pay back for us, is the day a child comes up to you and says, “Such and such happened in the yard. I could have retaliated but I thought about it and didn’t”, or “I saw two children having an argument so I stopped and helped them sort it out”. They are so proud of themselves. And we are too!

Now back to that speeding fine….

Perhaps you are lucky and fill in a statutory declaration and your partner or child of driving age has to pay the fine… Good luck !

Jan Taylor



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