|© UNICEF, Serbia|
|Serbian Deputy PM and Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic, Minister of Education Zarko Obradovic and UNICEF DR Lesley Miller visiting Belgrade primary school "Mladost"|
Belgrade, 2 September 2009 - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, Education Minister Zarko Obradovic and UNICEF Deputy Representative Lesley Miller visited the “Mladost” primary school in Belgrade today, one of 165 Serbian schools that are implementing the “School Without Violence” programme. The visit symbolically marked the involvement of the police in the Programme and their commitment to join the network, which is systematically working on the creation of a safe environment for school children.
“I want you to know that police officers are your friends and that you can always ask them for help,” Minister Dacic told the pupils. He explained that the Interior Ministry had trained special groups of police officers to work with children and helpthem to keep themselves safe.
“By teaching children about road safety and helping to prevent violence, policemen are making an important contribution to the safety of children,” Dacic said.
“While many partnerships have been formed through the ‘School Without Violence’ programme, one of the most innovative has been the partnership with the police, who have a key role to play in ensuring children’s safety at school and in the broader community,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative Lesley Miller.
The “School Without Violence” programme seeks to prevent all forms of violence at school, including those of a physical, social and emotional nature. Research findings show that a quarter of all Serbian school children are anxious to go to school for fear of being exposed to violence and bullying. This goal of this programme, therefore, is to protect children through open dialogue, peer-education and the creation of networks within school and in the community.
"With the Interior Ministry and in partnership with UNICEFas the initiators of the ‘School Without Violence’ programme, we are doing our best to create a safe environment and suitable learning conditions for our children”, explained Education Minister Obradovic.