The perception of measures to reduce the push factors of juvenile crime in South African schools: A Case study of two schools
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The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2000) emphasizes that all actions which pertains to children should be in their best interest and this includes the welfare of learners in schools. This study sought to explore the perception of measures to reduce the push factors of juvenile crime in two South African schools. A Social Learning Theory was employed as the theoretical lens for this study and a qualitative case study approach, which is explorative and descriptive in nature, was also used. An interview schedule was used to collect data focusing on in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with participants as well as key informants. Convenience sampling, which is a non- probability type of sampling that entails the selection of samples based on their convenience and accessibility was used given the sensitive aspect of this particular study, especially on the identification of research participants. A sample of seven focus groups consisting of seven participants was drawn from the entire population of two selected schools in order to have a minimum of 49 representatives from each school. Audio recordings and transcribed verbatim were analyzed by the researcher as data collection technique. A thematic analysis, which looks across all data to identify common issues and recurring themes, was used. This research sought to be ethically considerate, adhering to codes such as confidentiality, informed consent, voluntary participation and others. Findings indicate that five crimes (substance use, stealing, bullying, physical fights and gangster activity) identified as recurring themes during the general preliminary investigation of juvenile crimes were also identified as common crimes at the two selected schools. Another observation in this study was that school juvenile offenders are generally cognisant of push factors of juvenile crime in schools, but are less informed when it comes to assimilating push factors with measures to reduce juvenile crimes.