Pretoria school suspends 'bully' girl

Pretoria - The Hoërskool Montana pupil who brutally assaulted her 15-year-old Montana Poort counterpart has been suspended and is undergoing a disciplinary hearing.

The teenager’s mother said she was pleased that appropriate action had been taken against the girl who attacked her daughter last Friday afternoon.

The mom of a 15-year-old Montana Poort Secondary School schoolgirl who was brutally assaulted by a Horskool Montana pupil laid charges of assault against the girl. Picture: Oupa Mokoena. Credit: PRETORIA NEWS

She said what comforted her was that the school governing body rallied in support of her daughter since a cellphone video of the incident hit social media earlier in the week.

“She’s taking things day by day since she went back to school. For me the most important thing is that there are people who understand the severity of what my child went through,” she said.

The teenager said she was taking her time getting back into things, but she no longer had real friends to confide in.

“It’s a bit difficult because people are making up stories about what happened on the day. I’m by myself and don’t have friends anymore because on the day of the attack I saw people’s true colours.

“Although the majority of the pupils have been really supportive of me, there is still a few that don’t think what she did to me was wrong.”

Her mother said she was anxious for the legal process to begin as she wanted the family to move on from what occurred.

“It's disheartening that we have not heard from the police on the progress of the matter. I don’t want this to drag on because we have vested emotions in this and I want my daughter to be able to focus on her school work and nothing else.”

Gauteng Department of Education acting spokesman Oupa Bodibe confirmed that the 16-year-old perpetrator was on suspension and appeared before the disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

Bodibe said the school would take a decision based on the outcome of the hearing.

“Cases of bullying are prioritised and perpetrators go through disciplinary process and appropriate sanction recommended.

“We have very few bullying cases reported in Tshwane schools, but all cases have been dealt with swiftly. Moreover, we conducted workshops with all the principals and school safety workers last year to equip them with the necessary information on how to identify and deal with bullying,” said Bodibe.

Matakanye Matakanya, secretary-general of the National Association of School Governing Bodies, said bullying in schools was very serious and had to be looked into thoroughly.

“Social media posts of bullying might be embarrassing for the victim, but one thing to consider is that the footage then provides the relevant authorities with information to take decisive action.

“What is of concern that there is psychological and emotional bullying that goes undetected for a long time,” he said.

Matakanya said often parents and teachers only noticed later on when the children became withdrawn.

He said parents and children had to be integrated in trying to find a solution and changing the mindset behind acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

“The schools and the government can only do so much and that is why it is so important for parents to get involved and work together to identify bullying traits and change mindset.

“Until we are able to secure the mindset, the one option that parents may be left with is to go the legal route then.”