“Mother ‘broken’by ‘bullying’

2015-07-28 15:55
A pupil of Pinelands Primary School had his arm broken at school. His mother believes her child was bullied.

A pupil of Pinelands Primary School had his arm broken at school. His mother believes her child was bullied.

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A mother says she has been depressed and having sleepless nights after her son came back from school with a broken arm.

Melanie Munien (49) from Maitland says her Grade 6 son was beaten and kicked at Pinelands Primary School, while other pupils watched, in an incident she strongly believes is bullying.

At the beginning of last month, Munien says, a boy hit her son in the face, pushed him to the ground and ran away.

Another set of boys came, kicked him and beat him up while he lay on the ground screaming for help. The ordeal stopped when a few Grade 7 pupils intervened and called their teacher, who came to help him.

What frustrates Munien is that the school didn’t call her immediately.

“It breaks my heart that they have my contact details, and those of his GP, but they didn’t bother to call us as soon as they saw this had happened.

“I was informed after a couple of hours. I got to the school after 09:00 and found my child in pain. He was crying, with grass all over his hair and uniform.

“I don’t understand how a school would do that when they have all the details to inform me if something happens to my child.

“When my child described how everything happened I couldn’t believe it. I always have that image of my child screaming for help in pain, with no-one to help him. It breaks my heart when I think of it,” she says.

School principal Mervyn Counsell says it was not an act of bullying.

“The incident happened when a group of boys were playing on the school grounds.

“He was tripped and fell and broke his arm. Immediately after that two teachers attended to him whilst another contacted the parent.

“As a school we have made necessary contact with the parent and we have even met with her to address the matter. It was a game.

“As a school we don’t condone any act of bullying and we have an anti-bullying policy.

“The parent says there were six kids involved, yet our investigation doesn’t show that.

“The mother was adamant but we can’t deal with allegations,” says Counsell.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson of the education department, says the district office was not aware of the incident.

“The mother can report to a manager who will investigate and take corrective actions.

“Schools deal with bullying in terms of their codes of conduct and Western Cape education department guidelines.

“District officials will take the matter up with the principal and respond to the mother.”

Pupils and parents can call the education department’s safe schools call centre for counselling and advice on 0800 45 46 47.

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