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Durban - A bully who almost paralysed a Shallcross teenager with a dangerous wrestling manoeuvre has been suspended from school - for the second time - after he was involved in an assault on the cousin of his previous victim.
The victim, Lennon Govender, 15, suffered a broken rib and bruises and had to be treated in hospital after about 10 boys attacked him at Marklands Secondary School on Monday.
One of the attackers was recently punished with a week’s suspension for using the “Tombstone Piledriver” wrestling move - dropping the victim headfirst onto the ground - on Lennon’s cousin, Zhane Abubakr.
Doctors had to perform bone graft surgery on Zhane, 18, removing a part of his hip to repair his neck, after initially fearing he would not be able to walk again.
The 10 boys were slapped with a five-day suspension from school for the latest incident, but the KZN Department of Education has warned it might take “drastic measures” against the one with the second transgression.
“This time we cannot pity him and have him treated in the same manner. He was given a chance to learn from his mistake. Parents can rest assured the matter will be dealt with,” said KwaZulu-Natal Education Department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi.
He said the previous suspension for the attack on Zhane was conditional on not being found guilty of the same charge again.
“We cannot have hooligans in the system. Our duty is to defend the pupils. With the help of the police this matter will be dealt with once and for all,” he said.
Lennon, in Grade 10, said he was attacked after he mistakenly bumped onse of the boys with his school back-pack. “He hit me and I hit back,” he said. “But then he called his friends and about 10 of them started punching and kicking me.”
He said he had tried to evade the boys by running to one of the classrooms but they caught up and continued the assault.
“These boys go around bullying other weak children that cannot defend themselves,” Lennon said.
His mother, who does not want to be named, said when she arrived at the school on Monday she found her son on a bed in an office receiving treatment from teachers.
“I’m just glad he is not seriously injured,” she said, adding that she was happy the principal had taken steps to deal with the situation.
Police confirmed that a case of common assault had been opened.
Marklands principal Anwar Khan said unlike the attack on Zhane, there would be no disciplinary tribunal as the matter had been resolved amicably.
“Every school has problems and this was not a serious issue. I have had a meeting with the parents of the boys concerned and it was agreed that the boys be suspended for five days,” he said.
But Lennon said he would rather not return to the school next year.
The teen had to go back to school the day after the assault to write an Afrikaans exam paper, which he did in the offices because he was afraid.
“I’m scared to go back there because they might just attack me again,” he said.
Pastor Bobby Moodley, Zhane and Lennon’s grandfather, said the bullies would only learn their lesson if they were sent to prison. “These boys are terrorising the school and bringing its name into disrepute and not their own,” he said. “It is only when someone is killed that a proper stand is taken against these bullies.”
Zhane, who has not returned to school since his incident in July, hoped to gain entry into Grade 12 next year with a medical certificate.
He said he feared being attacked again if he returned to the school.