Sustaining a safe and secure learning environment: A case study of a selected school in Newcastle
The focus of the research paper is mainly on the behavioural pattern of school learners, which tends to be disruptive and anti-socially incline. The prevalence of violent acts in schools, including bullying, fighting among learners, sexual abuse and harassment, stabbings and murder, abusive language and other disruptive learner behaviours, put teachers, learners and school property at risk, and compelled to be further re-examined
In the plethora of policy directives, legal imperatives, governmental and non-governmental safety and security initiatives in schools, we are not yet at the gist of problem-solving since mass-media still inundated with outrageous reports on school violent acts and other related crimes, alcohol and drug abuse and unpredictable anti-social behaviours in schools. Lest the legal systems view such acts in schools as criminal offences rather than learner misbehaviours, schools will continue to be cradles of violence and anti-social behaviours. In addition, gangsters now target schools for their territorial expansion; and learners to accomplish their criminal activities; through intimidation and power asymmetry exercises, which compromises the safety of both teachers and learners.
A sustainable learning environment enables learners, parents and community members to own and democratically take control of the central stage in the construction of knowledge that transforms, constructs and shape social identity which help people to reflect on their original identity. A remarkable aspect in the study centres on the voice of learners, which has been neglected in some other studies, but here revealed through participatory visual communication.
In conclusion, the study argues that a socially inclusive safety and security strategy does not reside in an individual endeavour, but in a collective and collaborative relationship as it is affected by any decision or action taken in an educational setting deserving participatory engagement and involvement.
Key concepts: anti-social behaviours, participatory engagement, social inclusive education, socioeconomic discrepancies, sustainability.