MEC: School bullying under-reported

2012-08-21 21:36

Johannesburg - Bullying is a serious problem for Gauteng schools, but the true scale is not known due to under-reporting, provincial Education MEC Barbara Creecy said in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

"The true extent of bullying is not known and will not be known because in most instances we find that learners or their parents do not report the incidents," Creecy said in prepared remarks at a colloquium on the subject in Turffontein.

Creecy said parents and pupils did not report bullying because they feared further victimisation.

Some schools were guilty of not reporting bullying to the provincial department because they believed they could contain the problem or conceal it to maintain their "perfect" record.

Creecy said bullying had resulted in at least two pupils in Gauteng committing suicide. She said few school programmes had been proven to tackle bullying and they were expensive to implement.

"Few evidence-based programmes have proven effective at reducing bullying in some schools and those that have are cost-prohibitive for many schools," Creecy said.

The provincial education department was rolling out its own plans to combat bullying, including at "high-risk" schools, and policy documents for all schools.

Schools were encouraged to review the policy for its effectiveness.

"In this way, we hope the policy will be respected and enforced as the department has adopted a collaborative approach," she said.

The department would also be implementing violence prevention as part of the school curriculum, and providing counselling.

Some schools would get patrollers to provide 24-hour security, security cameras and metal detectors.

  • Phelamanga - 2012-08-21 22:05

    The combating of bullying in schools starts in the principal's office, and then the staffroom. What needs to be done is that there should be an awareness programme which details the kinds of bullying such as mobbing, character assassination and so on. Bullying can only be stamped out if principals and teachers look first to their own behaviour towards their colleagues so that they can understand the effects of bullying. They should also be made aware of the legal consequences of bullying and the various laws on the statute books that effectively outlaw the kind of harassment that may be going on in the staffroom. It is particularly rife in Gauteng schools and if bullying is taking place in the school yard, it is most likely also taking place in the staffroom. A school with a high turnover of teachers is usually one in which bullying is taking place from the top down. Another indicator is a school with a small, unchanging core of teachers,who hold all positions of authority and leadership, but a huge turnover of teachers who spend a year or two at the school. Schools should have a code of conduct, not only for the pupils, but also for the teachers. Once the teachers become aware of their own interpersonal relationships, they will be able to be more empathetic towards the interpersonal relationships in the pupil body. Parents should ask principals how many teachers have left the school in the previous two years. This may be an indication that bullying is taking place.

      daleinn - 2012-08-21 22:17

      School bullying starts with the parents that bring a child into the world. Grow and nurture and install value systems that can be expanded upon in schools.Children emulate their parents,social media, entertainment,and the worldly environment. We cannot stop their hunger from learning, but we can point them in the right direction,and not leave it in the hands of the schools, but in collaboration ,and working closer with school parenting and governing bodies. Rather stop the habit now, then when the mistake becomes too costly and too late.

      connie.baiao - 2012-11-21 18:46

      TrueBlue, while I can agree with parts of your comments I have to just clarify something for you since my son and I are currently embroiled in a bullying incident. 2 weeks ago he was kicked and beaten by 5 boys (ages 11 and 12 years old!!) and sustained physical injuries. The school has a strict anti-bullying rule and it is in their code of conduct and as much as they would like to act, they are being prevented from doing so by our own Department of Education. In the past, children were expelled by the schools for behaviour such as this. In the current day, schools are not allowed to take this action. They have to submit a request to the Education Dept and that is where the decision is made. One of the culprits in my childs case is a well-known and notorious bully and the school has suspended him countless times (they are only allowed to suspend for a maximum of a week)and requested expulsion from the Dept 5 times .... all have been declined and the Dept says this child is not a danger to other pupils. We have now resorted to pressing criminal charges of assault against these children and hopefully get some joy from the juvenile courts. Because nothing can be done by schools and the kids know this, they know that there will be no consequences for their behaviour .... and so the lawlessness continues and in a few years they will be thugs because our government departments sit on their fat arses and could care less!!

  • debbie.walker.79230305 - 2012-08-22 07:18

    I dont see how reporting it would change anything. On April 25th my son was kicked in the back causing him to fall down a flight of stairs and he fractured his ankle in two places. It took the school around 3 weeks to get around to scheduling a disciplinary hearing and his punishment, wait for it......a 3 month suspended sentance for 5 days! This child has an extensive history of previous instances and this is his punishment. We didnt fair better at the department of education either, after their 'independent' investigation they agree with what we said and they suggest giving the offender extra tutoring because the child isnt doing well in school as well as counselling. We on the other hand are stuck with the medical bills and dont have medical aid, my sons report card drastically went from 70% odd for some subjects to 29% in 2 terms due to missed school for going to JHB Gen but doesnt get any support! And what bothers me the most is the fact that if it was the other way around and my white son had been the offender, what would the repurcussions have been then???

      connie.baiao - 2012-11-21 18:48

      Debbie, there are other avenues you can take. PM me on FB and I can run you through them. I am busy with the process at the moment with my sons bullies

  • Ze Don - 2012-08-22 07:59

    This is what happens when you have NO discipline in schools anymore! Repeat offenders can't even be expelled!

  • raymond.billson - 2012-08-22 08:46

    Bullying is a symptom of our society today. Our company has facilitators that conduct bullying workshops 3 hours to 1 day at schools and business in Johannesburg and the greater Gauteng. Based on the law of energy and the lecturers are highly qualified martial artists. The psychology of bullying is taught and includes why it takes place. How do you break the cycle of bullying. Ages 6 to 60.If you feel the need to have a workshop at your premises for you or your staff please feel to contact us at CINAO where " I can is now an option" at either 076 5143558 or 011 6163513 or email to book a seminar or workshop. Results are guaranteed.

  • - 2012-08-22 10:01

    teachers accept some of the responsibility here pls. in our model c school, i see how the kids just don't take the teachers seriously - how can you expect them to ? when deadlines are set & projects aren't submitted - the teachers just move the deadline ahead. Teaching is now treated as a job with certain additional perks. The teachers are unhappy because the perks aren't as great as they used to be as the department has saddled them with lots of admin. If you can't handle it go do something else - you are entrusted with one of the most important jobs and the joy you get should not be a great salary, decent hours etc - it should be seeing kids succeed. In general there is a total disinterest and lack of empathy for kids - most teachers have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what is going on between the children - because they just don't care. Teachers suck - well at least MOST OF YOU do !!!!! I am sorry for those teachers who are genuinely trying to make a difference (you are few, because even the supposedly good ones seem to think it is acceptable to BBM in class ????). Its a pity that I have to group you with the rest of the scum, but you are seriously outnumbered. Stop blaming the kids & parents, show an interest in their lives & show some empathy - lose the righteous attitudes - you are providing a service. Do not expect to respected just because you are an educator - respect is earned.

  • zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-08-22 12:06

    My grade 4 daughter was bullied by a boy from grade 8 in the school bus. She didn't report it to me or the teacher and we only started realising there was something wrong when she didn't wanna use the bus and her marks in class were getting lower. We interrogated her and she eventually came clean about the boy. He was reported to the school teacher and given a warning. Apparently she targeted young girls in the bus and took their food and sweets. She once kicked my daughter on her ribs after refusing to give him sweets. I was furious when I heard that and nearly killed the boy. Kidz are sometimes scared to report the bullying because they think it will make things worse. Talk to your kids and encourage them to report any bullying. Ask them about school and their activities if they really enjoying them. They will soon talk that is the lesson I learnt from this whole episode.

  • nicole.squara - 2012-08-22 16:10

    Manners 4 Minors offer Bully Workshops to schools for children age 4 to 8. The workshop is usually 30 to 45 minutes long, depending on the feedback from the children. We like to get their feedback and get them involved, so that they can relate bullying / name calling etc to their own everyday situations. Manners 4 Minors is a programme designed specifically for 3 to 8 year olds, aimed at introducing them to the benefits of having good manners and displaying universally acceptable social skills. To get your child’s school to participate in our program, please contact or visit our website

  • zelna.lauwrens - 2012-08-23 10:49

    I firmly believe that Bullying prevention is about more than offering a once off solution that is broad-based. Our programmes at EQual Zeal(R) Training address the underlying psychology of the bully and the bullied. We through hands on training that is tailor made according to the school and which lasts a minimum of 4 sessions, have had amazing results in curbing bullying. We need to move away from reactive training and become proactive and we need to provide a tangible toolkit for children that they can use. Once off is never going to do the trick because what children and teachers need are mentors and guides in navigating the school of life. Bullying is just one small aspect of this and ultimately it all boils down to the inherent self esteem that is so lacking in our children due to a myriad of toxic influences. I have presented two research papers, one at The Global Childhood Conference at Oxford University that illustrates why our methods work. feel free to e-mail me on or call me on 082 4473343.

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