Independent Projects Trust

       Community Alliance for Safe Schools : CASS   

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Brief Introduction to the IPT-sponsored Community Alliance for Safe Schools

CASS is an alliance of existing government, non-government, community-based, and voluntary organisations who are joining forces to fight school-based violence and crime. The idea first emerged from a briefing and workshop held at the offices of the Independent Projects Trust on November 18, 1997. The IPT presented findings based on extensive quantitative and qualitative research into violence at Durban schools. The assembled body of representing some forty different organisations then decided that a community-based response to the crisis was required. Numerous workshops were conducted over the next few months until the Community Alliance for Safe Schools emerged with a mission statement (see below).

Mission Statement:

The Community Alliance for Safe Schools (CASS) emerged from a set of democratic and transparent agreements among voluntary, non-government, community-based, and government organisations concerned with unacceptably high levels of crime in and around schools. We have organised for the primary objective of pooling our human and organisational resources to effect three goals:

  • to build partnerships that instil a sense of community ownership of schools;
  • to mobilise communities to protect children; and
  • to equip school governing bodies with the training and information needed to create safe environments for both learners and educators.

Our main activities include the provision of public information regarding school safety, training of school governing bodies in techniques and methods for providing security, and mobilising community resources through workshops, communication, partnerships, and ongoing research. CASS is organised on the principle of serving those in greatest need and therefore targets areas most vulnerable to crime.

Delivering Skills

Cass works directly with School Governing Bodies by providing training, information, and facilitation services on these subjects:

  • building partnerships
  • community ownership
  • discipline in schools
  • improving police co-operation
  • safety drills
  • types of school safety programmes
  • conflict management skills
  • peer mediation
  • school watches
  • safety needs assessments
  • school security measures (e.g., weapons checks, fencing, etc.)
  • statistics on school violence

Organisations participating in CASS meetings as of 29 April 1998

City Police
South African Police Service
Business Against Crime
Independent Projects Trust
Diakonia Council of Churches
KZN Human Rights Forum
Culture of Learning Teaching and Service Campaign (COLTS)
Media in Education Trust
South African Democratic Teachers Union
Association of Professional Educators of KwaZulu-Natal
Street Law
Rotary Against Crime
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Welfare
KZN Department of Education and Culture (various units)
Department of Social Work, University of Natal
Anglican Church
Southern Life Foundation
Association of Governing Bodies (Phoenix)
School Governing Bodies (various)
KZN Youth Council
Southern Natal Childrens' Rights Committee
Durban Youth Radio
British Council
Isphamandla Society
Media (various education reporters)
Ministers of Parliament (various national and provincial)
School Governance Training Unit
Mayor's Office (Metropolitan Council)
Ntuzuma College
Survivors of Violence
Security Consultants (various)
Political Parties (various including MPs and MPPs)
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education
Phoenix Child Welfare
British Consulate

In May 2001 the IPT's CASS project and the Crime Reduction in Schools Project (CRISP), formally based at the University of Natal Durban, agreed to a merger which saw these two pivotal role players in school safety and youth crime reduction joining forces under the auspices of IPT. This significant move will result in the creation of a powerful joint force in facilitating safer schools in KwaZulu-Natal, and in due course, South Africa. The announcement coincided with the celebration of IPT's eleventh year of highly successful operation, and the end of CRISP's two year pilot phase.

For more information


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