Lufuno Mavhunga bullying incident shock Portland High School learners into action
Cape Town - Outraged by a the recent shocking incident of bullying which led to the death of a learner in Limpopo, learners from Portland High School in Mitchells Plain have launched their campaign against bullying at the school.
According to teachers at the school, proactive learners approached the educators with the idea to recommit and sign an anti-bullying pledge, found in the Metro South Education District’s anti-bullying policy.
Teacher Sharne Adams said: “After Lufuno Mavhunga’s bullying incident went viral, I think we were all concerned and outraged. However, our learners took it a step further and decided to take action.
“Our school’s anti-bullying chairperson Camorin du Plessis came to us and asked if the student body could host an anti-bullying campaign in support of Lufuno and commit themselves to never bully.
“Camorin, in collaboration with different student bodies, organised the campaign, and the majority of our learners loved and supported them. Over 500 learners have since signed the district’s anti-bullying pledge,” said Adams.
"We are proud and grateful to have such thoughtful young students at our school, and we hope that they take the commitment they pledged to here into their communities as well,“ added Adams.
The pledge which the learners took 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 instead.”
The 14-year-old girl accused of assaulting her classmate Lufuno appeared in the Thohoyandou Margistrate’s Court in Limpopo on a charge of assault.
Education and social activism organisation, Equal Education (EE) said that it had repeatedly called for the government to provide suitable and accessible professional psychosocial support services and acknowledge the importance of efficient school-based referral systems for learners.
Researcher Stacey Jacobs said the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) developed a provincial “Safe Schools Programme” which works with schools to ensure safe and successful school environments, but despite the efforts, data showed that learners in the province did not make use of the initiative.
Jacobs said: “The Safe Schools Programme has a call centre which is intended to provide a contact point for learners and teachers to report cases of physical, verbal and/or emotional abuse or bullying.
“It is concerning that despite violence/bullying in schools, learners are not using this resource. We are calling on the WCED and education officials to take active steps to improve school safety, and raise awareness about the Safe Schools call centre and its operations so that learners are encouraged to use it.”