The Department of Basic Education said it has solid partnership to link schools with the SAPS. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
The Department of Basic Education said it has solid partnership to link schools with the SAPS. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Police the only solution to solving school bullying cases

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Apr 15, 2021

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Reporting a case of bullying with the SAPS seems to be the only way to resolve the matter if it is not appropriately handled by the school.

“The Department has a solid partnership with the SAPS, aimed at linking schools with local police stations and the establishment of functional School Safety Committees,” says Department of Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

IOL asked the DBE about the various channels one could go to in reporting bullying if nothing was done by the school.

This was after the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) preliminary findings that the principal of Mbilwa Secondary School in Limpopo had failed to take appropriate action to resolve the bullying which led to Grade 10 learner Lufuno Mavhuga being violently beaten by a fellow learner and then later committing suicide.

Mhlanga said the department’s interventions had focused on addressing elements of physical infrastructure related to proper fencing, alarm systems and burglar proofing, resilience-building programmes for young people and the strengthening of partnerships with relevant stakeholders.

“The Department views these ills in a serious light because they carry a potential to deprive our learners of their inherent constitutional rights to life, education, equality and dignity,” he said.

SAHRC spokesperson Victor Mavhidula said Lufuno had reported the perpetrator to the school principal but the matter was ignored. The principal told Lufuno to return to the same class her perpetrator was in.

During its fact-finding mission, the SAHRC received reports that the principal prioritised bullying cases that came from children who were from well-off families.

Mavhidula said that when Lufuno’s brother reported the matter to the principal via text messaging the principal acted surprised.

“He told her brother he was not aware of the incident,” said Mavhidula despite having heard Lufuno’s complaint as well as a witness report from the school’s security guard.“

The commission is yet to meet the education to discuss its response to bullying and incidents of violence at schools.

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