CAPE TOWN – The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said that the boy in the viral video where he set a girl’s hair alight in class has been suspended.
In the latest bullying incident to go viral, a boy from Belgravia High School has been suspended after he set fire to a girl’s hair while taunting her in class.
The incident took place on Monday morning and was recorded by their classmates while the teacher was out of the classroom.
The boy, wearing a brown and white beanie, is seen taking a lighter from another pupil and standing behind the learner where he then goes to pour a liquid on her before he sets her ponytail alight.
The 14-second video, recorded by a girl sitting behind the victim, starts with the boy pouring a drink over the girl’s hair.
Another boy comments: “Kyk hier, haar hare kan nie nat raak nie.” (Look here, her hair doesn’t get wet.)
The boy with the beanie then asks for a lighter from another classmate and someone tells him: “Jy, ha-ah!” (Hey you, ha-ah).
The boy laughs as he sets the girl’s ponytail alight.
He quickly douses the flames with his hand while the rest of the learners burst out laughing.
The video went viral on social media platforms, sparking outrage.
The WCED says they are aware of the incident, and departmental spokesperson Millicent Merton said that “the learner was suspended as a precautionary measure pending a disciplinary hearing”.
“The school provided counselling and therapeutic support to the victim.
“The Representative Council of Learners (RCL) will embark on an anti-bullying campaign at the school,” Merton said.
Bullying in schools have become more prominent issue following an incident of bullying led to the death of a learner in Limpopo.
The death of 15-year-old Lufuno Mavhunga in Limpopo 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.
After the incident numerous Cape schools launched anti-bullying campaigns. The WCED also highlighted there are numerous anti-bullying campaigns at district and school level.
“The district offices also 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.
“Parents and learners should first report such abuse to their teachers/ school management. It is important that the school management is aware of the allegations so that they can address it as soon as possible,” the WCED said.
“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.”