East-Rand school 'turned blind eye' to bullying

By Drum Digital
24 November 2014

Teachers of Hoerskool Elspark in Ekurhuleni and police officials allegedly failed to intervene when two siblings were bullied and assaulted on the school grounds, The Star reported on Monday.

The mother of the 15-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy told the paper she alerted the school to her children's assaults, some of which were recorded by other children on their cellphones.

School staff told her they could do nothing about it.

The mother approached the police and the education department and handed them video evidence of the assaults which occurred on separate occasions.

At a school meeting the school principal asked that they withdraw the charges against the other pupil because "it was making the school look bad".

Reportedly no punishment was given to the bully.

The children have allegedly been assaulted again and no longer want to go to the school.

The provincial education department told The Star it was aware of the matter and was investigating.

Help your child combat bullying:

-        Build their self-image. “Continue to support them emotionally. It’s important for them to build up enough self-confidence,” says Claire O’Mahoney of the Sandton Psychology Centre in Johannesburg.

-        Help them to create support networks. “It’s important that other people in your child’s life support them to counteract the rejection,” Anel Annandale, an educational psychologist in Cape Town, says. They could be relatives or family friends’ children of her age.

-        Teach them how to confront the nasty kids. “They must be able to tell these kids what they’re doing is mean,” Annandale says.

-        Help them to understand their circumstances aren’t unique; they might come across such people again later in life, O’Mahoney says. The most important thing is not to try to force the other kids to change their behaviour but that your child should decide how to handle the situation.

- SAPA    

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