Sharks say ‘no’ to bullying

2012-08-15 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree announced that the team will start an anti-bullying campaign in KwaZulu-Natal schools.

He said a campaign in partnership with KZN Childline would be headed up with a strong media drive, a television advert and school visits, to discourage bullying in schools.

Plumtree was speaking at a media briefing at King’s Park yesterday.

“This is something that is very important to me, from a personal point of view, because I have kids in that age group …

“The statistics from the call centre in KZN are frightening.

“They are fielding something like 20 000 calls a month, so we are going to really drive it hard over the Currie Cup campaign with school visits,” said Plumtree.

Linda Naidoo, of KZN Childline, said their offices received lots of calls from victims on their crisis line.

She said bullying was part of the on-going violence found in many schools in South Africa.

Bullying shows up in different ways, so the kind of calls recorded in Childline’s database may reflect physical abuse by a child rather than bullying.

“Bullying is a serious problem, especially emotional taunting and sexual harassment.

“Our campaign is to stamp out bullying as it scars a child’s life and diminishes their self-worth, so that they never realise their potential,” said Naidoo.

She told The Witness the campaign would encourage children to talk about their bullying experiences and to call their crisis line.

The campaign also aims to instill tolerance, respect and positive social interaction among children.

“Many children see themselves as powerless victims who don’t have a chance against the bullies.

“Many suicides are averted if you can talk through your circumstances and obtain another perspective and help,” Naidoo advised.

Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said the department welcomed the initiative.

He said the department dealt with isolated cases of bullying in the 6 000 schools in the province.

However, he said, it took such cases seriously.

“There are those who find bullying amusing, but as the department, we don’t.

“Education is a social responsibility and we embrace all initiatives to deal with social ills.

“I think it’s a great initiative,” Mlotshwa added.

The campaign will be launched next week.

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