Rector’s eNews – 31 August 2022/ Rector's eNews
In this eNews, I aim to further and complete what I have written so far on the topic of grooming which normally involves an older person befriending a younger person in unusual ways – ways which are inappropriate and make the younger person feel uneasy, even if there may be a certain thrill about the interaction he/she has with the older person and even if it is difficult for them to pinpoint why it is that they feel uneasy.
There is an onus on us all to prevent grooming in whatever ways we can:
- Talking about healthy relationships from an early age helps young people to differentiate, on the one hand, between normal, respectful, loving behaviour which is out in the open and demonstrates warmth and, on the other hand, that which is secretive and edgy.
- As parents, you might encourage transparency in what your children are doing online. Using parental controls and keeping as up to date as one can on the apps and games that your sons and daughters are engaged with can be helpful, even though teenagers do need a degree of independence. Exercising excessive secrecy and hiding of screens could be an indication that something is amiss.
- We will shortly be engaging with Emma Sadlier, an expert on social media, once again. Luke Lamprecht, an expert in safeguarding, spoke to our boys and staff earlier this year in this regard. This is part of our programme to deal with a range of issues confronting young people in 2022 and to steer them away from the dangers of social media.
- There are arms of the police to whom problematic behaviour should be reported, even if this is not as well known as it should be nor as prevalent as it is in many other countries. The message, however, is clear: people who are engaged in grooming need to be reported to the police.
An area which is potentially related to this is that, on occasion, some parents wish to engage a tutor/coach from outside the school who has particular expertise to assist their son in some area. In view of the comment above and the importance that we need to attach to preventing grooming, it is important that the school should be fully aware of every person coming onto the campus for this reason. To give effect to this, if you have not already done so, I ask that you provide the contact details of such tutors/coaches to Mrs Win de Wet, Deputy Rector: Academic, if it is for an academic purpose and to Mr Ryan Strudwick, Senior Master: Sport, if it is for a sporting purpose. We will then be able to check the credentials of such tutors/coaches and allow them to be admitted at the main gate. I very much appreciate your support in this regard. If you have any general queries, please direct them to Mr Sibs Ncamani, Deputy Rector: Pastoral, who is in charge of monitoring the well-being of all the boys.
In my last eNews I spoke about Mr Ryan Strudwick leading the C Block Journey. Mr Ryan Strudwick is the leader of one of the groups and the others are led by Messrs James Fleming, Paul Snyman and Sibonelo Khanyile. All of the arrangements for the C Block Journey, as well as the D Block Pondoland exercise and the E Block camp are administered by Ms Joanne Morrison here at the home base at Michaelhouse. This is an immensely time-consuming and important role and we thank Joanne Morrison for her support of the leaders of the C Block Journey as well as Mr Gerry Noel who is in charge of the D Block hike and Messrs Herman Visagie and Mark Blew who are in charge of the E Block camp.
There is much excitement in the lead up to these events and also much preparation; the teamwork of all concerned will, doubtless, lead to outstanding experiences for all of the boys concerned.