Bullying investigated

2018-11-20 06:01

“We note with grave concern the recent events at Livingstone High School,” said Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), responding to allegations of bullying at Livingstone High School in Claremont.

Video of the bullying incident was reportedly circulated on social media pages recently. According to reports the video shows a learner assaulting another inside a
classroom.

Shelver said: “After seeing videos of some of the incidents at Livingstone, the MEC (Debbie Schäfer) immediately called for a report, which she has received from the
district.”

Shelver said the school reacted promptly to the incident and the learner was found guilty and has been punished with a penalty “of a restorative nature”.

Explaining the issue of bullying, Shelver said: “Bullying incidents, however, are seldomly one-sided. It is worrying that there are allegations that our schools are not doing enough, and we appeal to parents to work with us in teaching your children what acceptable behaviour is, and how to resolve conflict in ways that do not involve
violence.”

She said the department will continue to intervene and offer help at the school.

Shelver said Schäfer has also offered to meet with the girl who was the subject of this latest incident, as well as her mother, to hear from them what their experience has been, and see if further interventions are needed.

She said in an attempt to address the issue, an assembly was held where inappropriate conduct of learners was addressed, and the school counsellor has already started counselling sessions with groups and individual learners.

However, Shelver said: “Investigation to establish further facts and verification of any evidence of further allegations has been a challenge. There have been allegations on both sides as to the conduct of all learners concerned. We also appeal to parents not to post their children’s names on social media. This can lead to further bullying and
unpleasantness.”

She explained that the WCED provides guidelines on its website on how to deal with bullying.

The guidelines cover types of bullying, the consequences of bullying, how to prevent bullying, support for the victim, and how to change the behaviour of bullies.

Shelver added: “The WCED last year issued guidelines to all schools on social media and social networking in public schools and I would encourage all officials, principals, educators and SGBs to study these.

V Guidelines can be found on the WCED website: www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/bullying-school. Learners can also call the Safe Schools Call Centre on 0800 454 647 for counselling and advice, or Childline SA on 0800 055 555.

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