Cape Town - A 14-year-old pupil at Douglas Mbopa High School in Motherwell, Gqeberha, is in intensive care (ICU) and fighting for her life after ingesting 34 pills because of alleged “bullying” by her teacher.
The teenager’s aunt, Ziyanda Mhaga, detailed how on Wednesday afternoon, February 9, the Grade 9 learner arrived home sobbing uncontrollably before attempting suicide.
“The child was in class with other kids, and was sitting on top of her table reading. The male teacher walked inside the classroom and reprimanded the child (for sitting on top of the table).
“He then asked her to do some squats in front of the class until she could not walk anymore. Imagine a whole male teacher asking a child to do squats in front of male students, for starters. Then, he chased the child out of the classroom and used vulgar language,” she said.
Mhaga said the teenager would not speak to the family despite repeated attempts to find out what was wrong, but she sobbed uncontrollably.
"For about an hour, we tried to speak to her to find out what happened. She could not tell us, and she just could not talk.
“After a while, she managed to speak up, and told us what happened and that she felt so embarrassed because her school peers would make fun of her. She said she felt so uncomfortable doing squats in front of a male teacher. I told her that I would go to the school the next day to attend to this,” she added.
Despite her assurances that the matter would be dealt with at school on the following, Mhaga said the teenager ingested pills and was later rushed to a hospital and given charcoal.
“We rushed her to the hospital, and she was given charcoal, which made her vomit out the tablets. She was initially given a drip and has since changed hospitals. She is in ICU right now and is not doing well at all.”
Mhage says she went to the school on Thursday, and the school principal said that she would report the matter to the Department of Education.
Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Mali Mtima, said they had assigned a team to investigate the matter and would also be making attempts to meet with the pupil’s parents.
“We will investigate from there. We condemn all forms of bullying,” said Mtima.