Safe Schools Seminar
Winston Owen, Marc Hardwick, Val Melis, Luke Lamprecht
The inaugural Safe Schools Seminar was recently hosted by Durban High School, in association with The Governing Body Foundation, The Guardian, DigiTV and Karri.
The Seminar was hugely successful and the feedback received has been phenomenal. Two examples are:
“In all my years of attending education based conferences I have never attended one so worthwhile and meaningful …”
“Well done in putting together a fabulous seminar that was an eye opener to all, not just schools. The manner in which it was conducted was exemplary. I am grateful that I was part of such a huge paradigm shift in education and society as a whole and I hope to empower the educators and learners at my school very soon. Thank you for a wonderful programme. May DHS always grow in leaps and bounds.”
The delegates were welcomed to the Seminar by the Chairman of the Seminar Steering Committee, Mr Winston Owen. Mr Owen introduced the Head Master of DHS, Mr AD Pinheiro, who opened the proceedings with the following address:
“Real education enhances the dignity of a human being and increases his or her self-respect. If only the real sense of education could be realized by each individual and carried forward in every field of human activity. The world will be so much a better place to live in.”
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this inaugural Safe Schools Seminar titled Breaking the Code of Silence. Schools have for decades been entrusted with the development of children into adulthood with a focus on values and right living (those who believe that it is only knowledge need to get out of teaching now).
Parents send their children to us with the assumption that their most valuable possession will be safe in our hands. This is a huge responsibility to which we have been entrusted. Sadly, we have at times failed to keep our children safe. Even at Durban High School in its over 150 year history, we have had occasion to be ashamed by the actions of certain individuals, and for that we are deeply sorry to those who have been hurt and violated. Unfortunately, nearly all schools have skeletons in their closets. For too long we have remained silent. In time this silence has become institutionalized and acceptable. An unwritten code.
We can no longer continue to shelter immoral behaviours. Our children need to speak out and we need to listen up. Our children need to feel and be safe.
The world is already changing its attitudes and questioning its status. In this day and age of instant communication and surveillance we can expose the drug pedlars, the sex offenders and the bullies and loudly proclaim #no more.
We are blessed today to have some wonderful speakers here today to share their stories and knowledge with us. I thank them for their time and passion to this worthy initiative. Although Winston Owen will close proceedings later with a vote of thanks, it would be remiss of me not to close off with a broad thanks. Thank you to our parents and Governing Body members, especially Winston Owen and Debbie Green, for their incredible hard work in driving this initiative and making it a reality.
Thank you to all our staff for all their efforts in these trying times. Thank you to our sponsors for making all this possible. Thank you to our Old Boys for initiating the concept and finally thank you to all of you for being here. For caring enough to want to make a difference. I hope you will enjoy your day.
Head Master : Durban High School
The one day Seminar comprised of guest speakers and participative panel discussions, opening up dialogue around the theme topic, Breaking the Code of Silence.
Listed below are the guest speakers and panellists and their topics:
Dr Graham Bell – DHS Concerned Old Boy, Sydney Australia
Dr Anthea Cereseto – CEO, The Governing Body Foundation
Prof Terence Dowdall – Previous Head of Child Psychology, UCT
Marc Hardwick – Founder of The Guardian
Luke Lamprecht – Consultant, SAMSOSA
Val Melis – Senior Prosecutor, NPA
Sdu Mncwango – Chairman, Education Chapter of City Story
Justin Paul – ex-SGB Chairman
Rajen Reddy – HR Executive, Beier Group & BBF Safety Group
Monty Thomas – Relationologist & Trauma Specialist, Zoë-Life
Facilitators – Robert Ntuli & Peter Watt
The programme for the day was as follows:
Session 1: Understanding the Learner
• “Why I was Silent for 50 Years” – Graham Bell, on speaking out against abuse
• “Psychological Insights into the Code of Silence and How We Can Help the Child” – Prof Terence Dowdall on the personal and psychological aspects to consider in breaking the Code of Silence
• Panel Discussion on the factors of the culture of silence and creating openness
• “Why I Changed My Mind” – Justin Paul, ex-SGB Chairman, shares his story on how his school leadership dealt with disclosure
• “How Do We Break the Culture of Institutional Silence In Schools” – Luke Lamprecht, Consultant to SAMSOSA and investigator of the Parktown Boys incidents
• Panel Discussion on managing change of culture
Session 3: Dealing with Disclosures
• The legal and psychological considerations when receiving a disclosure from a Learner, including post disclosure actions – Marc Hardwick, Founder of The Guardian
• Managing the Dangers of Social Networking, Smart Phones and Devices
• Dealing with the “Blesser” Culture
Exhibitions outside of the conference hall allowed various stakeholders, NGO’s, service providers and experts in the field to offer information geared toward learner safety and empowerment.
The Seminar Closing Session wrapped up with feedback from the workshops and a commitment from the delegates who attended to bring about a positive change at their respective schools.
The Safe Schools Seminar Steering Committee would like to thank the following for their contribution to this successful inaugural Seminar:
• Durban High School Head Master and Staff
• The DHS Foundation Trust
• The Governing Body Foundation
• Concerned Old Boys
• The Guardian
• Aamena and The DHS Moms Committee
• All the Exhibitors
• Judges Landscapes
• Café Flava (all their packaging is biodegradable and eco-friendly)
• All Speakers, Panellists and Facilitators
• Seminar Project Co-Ordinator, Debbie Green
First Panel Discussion – Graham Bell, Sdu Mncwango, Marc Hardwick, Anthea Cereseto, Luke Lamprecht, Peter Watt
Second Panel Discussion – Anthea Cereseto, Val Melis, Robert Ntuli
Dr Erna de Lange (GBF), Dr Dudley Forde (previous DHS Head Master)
Ian Lewis, Saloshana Nagiah, Mpho Ndaba (DHS Learner), Sandile Cele
David Spiteri, Louis Arde, Jenny Spiteri
Erin Naude, Shelley Kerr, Esme Weigette, Sally Quinlan