Durban - The Limpopo Department of Education is concerned with the increase in bullying incidents among learners in schools after a video of a pupil assaulted by her peer went viral.
The video recording shows a female grade 10 pupil being repeatedly slapped at Mbilwi Secondary School, in the Vhembe East education district, while other pupils can be heard cheering in the background.
The perpetrator is also a grade 10 female learner, and according to the department, the victimised pupil has since passed away. The department’s spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said the cause of death is unknown at this stage, and the department is awaiting a formal report on the cause of death from the relevant authorities.
The Limpopo MEC for Education, Polly Boshielo, has expressed his disappointment at the violent behaviour of pupils.
“It is quite disturbing to witness this level of violent behaviour among young people. We strongly condemn such conduct that has turned our schools into horrendous havens of those who have no regards for their peers. Bullying is wrong and will never be tolerated in our schools.
“We send our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased pupil and pledge our commitment towards ensuring that all those involved in bullying incidents are made to face the consequences of their actions.
“It is important that we also capacitate our schools to strengthen enforcement of their code of conduct, especially on such incidents. Education is a societal matter, therefore putting the responsibility on all of us to ensure a safe learning and teaching environment," says MEC Boshielo.
A separate video of a physical altercation, involving grade 12 female pupils from Nthuba High School, also went viral last Friday. This incident is still under investigation.
The department has appointed learner support agents, who are based in 10 education districts across the province, to offer emotional support to vulnerable learners. This is done in conjunction with programmes offered by the school safety, learner psychological services and life skills units.
Processes are under way to intensify their interventions in high burden areas, based on reports received from circuit offices.
District psychosocial teams have been dispatched to the schools to attend to the affected learners.