This bus ‘not for us’

2016-11-01 06:00
Volunteers who keep children safe to and from school.  PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Volunteers who keep children safe to and from school. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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In a bid to protect learners in Lavender Hill the department of community safety has started walking buses to make sure that learners get to school safely.

Dawned in green bibs, safety volunteers escort learners to ensure that they stay safe while they walk to and from school.

However, this has been received with mixed feelings by community members. Some say the walking bus should be supported, but others feel it’s not an appropriate solution for an area like Lavender Hill.

The walking bus was launched on 21 October, but it is not getting as much support as expected, because volunteers are apparently afraid to put their lives in danger.

“We are happy that the people are helping out. Most of the people that you see are grandmothers and mothers who accompany these children. They take learners from one corner to another until they are safe at home or at school,” says community member Henry Naude.

“However, we are seeing a decrease in the numbers. Parents are afraid to be out here. People are scared, they are terrified of the shooting and they don’t know how best they can do this.

Too terrified to walk“We are calling on all parents to help out to make sure that our children are safe. At times shootings are out of hand and it leaves everyone terrified but we all need to work together.”

Mark Peters, deputy principal of Hillwood Primary School, says the idea behind the walking bus is good, but it is not suitable for the area.

“When it started there were a number of people. I saw it for a day or two after the launch. Now I don’t see it any more.

“Bringing something like a walking bus needs to be thought through carefully because people are also scared. The idea is good but in this area it’s not practical. It can work in other areas but not in Lavender Hill.”

Lucinda Evans, chairperson of the Steenberg community police forum, says they are encouraging parents to join the walking bus.

“This is for our children. We should ensure safety and this is the starting point. The shootings can be bad and parents must not try to fetch their children from school when shootings start. They are putting their lives and the lives of the children in danger.

“If parents can help with the walking bus it will make things easier and give peace of mind to the parents knowing that someone is looking after their children.”

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