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Cyberbullying leads to school attack

The Star

CANDICE BAILEY

FIRST they called her fat and threw diet pills at her. Then they took to Facebook and BlackBerry’s BBM chat service with a series of threats, name-calling and nasty comments.

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RUTHLESS: A girl was allegedly asked by the 15-year-old attacker to video her assaulting a fellow pupil at Krugersdorp High School.

And when that was not enough, the four Krugersdorp High schoolgirls marched up to the 15-year-old pupil and hit her over the head with a glass juice bottle.

The attack during the first interval of the school day on January 30 was filmed. The video was recorded by another pupil, who had allegedly been asked by the attacker to film the confrontation.

In it, the attacker, wearing a pink headband, is seen walking across the school field, playing with the bottle.

The 70-second video shows the schoolgirl, who is shorter than the victim, lean in to hit the girl with the bottle.

The victim steps back and the attacker steps in again to take a second swipe, but the victim moves out of reach, with blood on her forehead.

The attacker, though suspended, was at school yesterday – less than 12 hours after the parents of both schoolgirls and the school’s lawyer had had a meeting at the school.

The victim’s mother, who cannot be named, has opened a case of assault against the 15-year-old attacker at the Krugersdorp police station.

And she is angry because the school did not tell her that her daughter’s attacker would be at school yesterday, and because the school did not handle the matter properly.

The mother said they were told there would be a disciplinary hearing, but neither she nor her daughter had been called to give their side of the story.

She said her daughter was friends with the attacker and her group of friends at one stage, but they had drifted apart – and that’s when the cyberbullying started.

When the school reopened this year, the attacks started again.

“There were threatening messages: ‘wait for Monday’; ‘we will beat you up’; ‘Monday is d-day’; ‘you going to die bitch’,” said the mother.

She told her daughter to approach a teacher to report the incidents.

“My daughter went to the deputy principal and told her that she was being bullied and threatened, and that she thought something would happen to her on Monday. The teacher said they would deal with it. But by first break my daughter was attacked.”

Yesterday, school principal Ivan Bailey told Sapa: “A principal cannot expel a learner. There is a disciplinary procedure that has to be followed, and this has been done.”

Bailey said the attack was the culmination of a series of “shocking conversations” on Facebook and BBM.

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