Team to probe Gauteng bullying attack

2013-05-16 13:56

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Pretoria - An independent team will investigate bullying at a school in Mabopane, north of Pretoria, after an 11-year-old boy had to be hospitalised, the Gauteng education department said on Thursday.

"We have appointed an independent team - not from the department - to investigate the matter," said spokesperson Charles Phahlane.

He said the department had organised counsellors to help support the boy and his family.

"We have explained to principals that any reports of bullying must be taken seriously," Phahlane said.

He was reacting to a report in the Daily Sun on Thursday that a group of school bullies at Retlilpele Primary School confronted a Grade 3 pupil and demanded his R5 lunch money on 6 May.

When the boy refused, they allegedly beat him and used a belt to hang him from the crossbar of a soccer goal post, which broke, landing on the child's arm and crushing it.

According to the newspaper, hospital doctors said his hand could possibly be saved with costly medical treatment, but that it might have to be amputated.

School bullying

In January, consumer insights company Pondering Panda released the results of a survey which found that 57% of children claimed to have been bullied at school.

"These statistics reveal a culture of bullying that permeates South African schools," spokesperson Shirley Wakefield said at the time.

The survey polled 2 064 pupils aged between 13 and 21, and 1 015 family members aged between 18 and 34.

According to the survey, 68% of pupils were worried about being physically assaulted or threatened with a weapon at school.

Seventy-one percent of the females surveyed said they felt threatened, compared to 63% of males.

Sixty-nine percent of young blacks and 54% of whites worried about being attacked at school.

Fifty-two percent of pupils said bullying at their school comprised teasing and insults, while 26% said it was involved being pushed, hit or beaten.

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