Bullying must be stopped

A SUBJECT not often discussed is bullying. Whether it’s at school, office or cyber-bullying, it is still a subject that is so often not given enough attention.

We have seen news reports, YouTube clips and even personal accounts from victims who have gone through this trauma who say that they have not had the desired support from their employers and/or teachers at school.

In November 2014 in Pietermaritzburg it was bullying that caused a 15-year-old pupil from Copesville to shoot dead Akhona Nakile (15), at Msilinga Primary School and wound another teenager, Lindokhule Thabethe. The victim was subsequently sentenced.

The question we must ask is - could this have been prevented? I would like to think it could have. I don't think that schools are taking enough responsibility in sorting out the issue of bullying. I have spoken to many victims of bullying and almost all of them have given me a similar account - either they are told to grow up or the teacher tries to find a reason why they are being picked on.

One such victim was asked to make a statement about what happened and when he and his witnesses came forward he was asked why he didn't shave. The boy was in Grade 8. He was subsequently forced to dry shave by a teacher in charge of discipline. The focus was immediately shifted from being the victim to the transgressor.

This is the sort of ill regard for the child's right to go to school in a protected environment that causes children to take the law into their own hands and that in itself is a problem as we have seen that it could carry disastrous consequences.

When parents drop their children off at school it is with the idea in mind that their children will be well cared for and that the teachers will act as their guardians to protect them. The consequences of bullying can be far reaching and has sometimes got long-term effects on the child's development.

We have seen many children develop depression and anxiety disorders as a result of these acts. Schools are not geared to deal with these mental conditions and when children become withdrawn and feel worthless and numb and lose interest in life and end up either getting involved in substance abuse or even worse commit suicide, you then hear the schools and their educators say these famous words - "If only we knew".

Well, sad to say that you did know and chose not to get involved. Who ends up with the loss and heartache? It is the same parents who thought their children were cared for.

My advice to school principals - keep your teachers accountable. Most of the attacks happen before, after and during break. When a child comes to you and complains they are being bullied that is when you need to listen and give that child the assurance that their best interest is in hand and that they can rely on you.

It would be advisable to get an anti-bullying club started and if anyone would like help to set it up they can email me on sacomcrimewatch@gmail and we can assist. Should your child be a victim of bullying, email me so we can assist you. - Steven King

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