12 months community service and counselling for KZN teen bully
A 16-year-old KwaZulu-Natal high school pupil, who violently assaulted a classmate in September last year, has been sentenced to 12 months’ community service.
She has also been placed under the supervision of a probation officer for the duration of the sentence.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson in KZN Natasha Kara said the teen, a pupil at Mathole High School in Mahlabathini, would also undergo intensive therapy.
The teen was convicted of assault GBH last month.
Video footage of the teen attacking her classmate went viral on social media last year.
In the clip, the girl is seen ripping off the victim's underwear and dragging her on the ground. She then pushes away a boy who tries to intervene and continues to kick the victim in the face.
Kara said in handing down sentence, Magistrate Fatima Khawula instructed that the teen cannot leave the magisterial district without prior written consent from the probation officer and she must submit a written apology to the victim.
"Also, the probation officer must facilitate a mediation between the accused and the victim.
“The matter was successfully prosecuted by District Court prosecutor Khethiwe Buthelezi," Kara said.
She added that the Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, advocate Elaine Zungu, welcomed the finalisation of this matter.
"We acknowledge the prevalence of bullying in the school environment. We will give these matters the necessary attention and ensure prosecutions accordingly," Zungu stated.
Bullying has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks after a Limpopo teen took her own life after video footage of her being assaulted at school went viral. Lufuno Mavhunga is alleged to have ingested pills after the harrowing attack. Three pupils have since been suspended and the attacker - a female pupil - has been arrested.
Teacher union Naptosa has said bullying has become entrenched in school culture and it has to stop.
"Bullying in school, be it physical or emotional, has a long-term impact on the victims. The situation is exacerbated with the advent of social media and the access to cellphones. Video footage circulated of the bullying adds to the humiliation and hurt accompanied with the bullying," Naptosa KZN chief executive Thirona Moodley said.
She said quick and decisive action must be taken against perpetrators of bullying.
"Parents and learners must be encouraged to report these incidents in a manner that they feel safe. As a country, we are vocal about gender-based violence, we cannot allow schools to become breeding grounds for learners to grow up into violent adults," she said.