Cape school pledges to stand against bullying after Lufuno Mavhunga’s death
Cape Town - Portland High School has taken a stand against bullying in light of the death of 15-year-old Lufuno Mavhunga in Limpopo.
Mavhunga’s death has gripped the nation and put the spotlight on bullying within schools of a video of the 15-year-old pupil being attacked by a fellow learner while others watched on went viral and sparked fury.
The bullying incident resulted in the Mavhunga taking her own life. She was buried on Saturday in her hometown.
A 14-year-old Limpopo schoolgirl was arrested for the brutal assault of Mavhungu. The schoolgirl has been charged with assault and will be charged as a minor, in accordance with the Child Justice Act.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) yesterday said the 14-year-old did not apply for bail as expected.
On Tuesday, Portlands High School paid tribute to Mavhunga, and other victims of bullying by launching an anti-bullying initiative at the school which requires learners to sign a pledge.
“We, the staff and learners of Portland High School, are anti-bullying.. We signed the anti-bullying campaign to show our support to all of the victims of bullying.
“This pledge is a reminder of our long-standing fight against bullying,” the school posted.
The pledge reads: “I pledge NOT to use my hands or my words for hurting others. I will use them (hands and words) to help and build others!”
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED), which won an award in New York for its “Raise your voice, not your phone” campaign in 2019, highlighted that there are numerous anti-bullying campaigns at both district and school level.
“The Portland High School campaign is an example of a district initiative, as it is part of the Metro South anti-bullying campaign. It is wonderful to see such a campaign with the learners actively participating in it and promoting the message to not use one’s hands or words to hurt others,” WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said.
“I pledge NOT to use my hands or my words for hurting others. I will use them (hands and words) to help and build...Posted by Portland High School onTuesday, 20 April 2021
“The district offices implement various campaigns and strategies to promote anti-bullying. For example, anti-bullying conferences or anti-bullying weeks where there is advocacy and education on cyber-bullying, for example, and practical steps learners can take to protect themselves from falling prey to bullying.
“We also constantly promote our safe schools hotline which offers counselling support and advice to learners and parents - as well as a mechanism for reporting such behaviour for further investigation,” Hammond said.
Parents and learners are encouraged to first report such abuse to teachers/ school management, Hammond said.
“It is important that the school management is aware of the allegations so that they can address it as soon as possible.
“Schools must address bullying, including cyber-bullying, in their school Code of Conduct. Disciplinary measures against learners who distribute, film or participate in events that put the school into disrepute or constitute abuse, assault or bullying – should be addressed.”
Hammond said that public schools must draw up and publish a policy on the use of social media (eg. Facebook; Instagram, Tik Tok; WhatsApp; Twitter) and encourage learners and employees to act responsibly, and be aware of the consequences associated with the use of social media.
“Learners must be made aware of the potential negative effects of Internet use; particularly cyber bullying.
“If learner behaviour is inconsistent with the Code of Conduct for learners then disciplinary action could be taken against them.”
Guidelines and template for the social media policy can be found here.