Limpopo pupil dies, says education dept, as it probes video showing bullying

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A screenshot of a video where a pupil appears to be being bullied.
A screenshot of a video where a pupil appears to be being bullied.
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  • A girl bullied in a video has apparently died, but the cause of death is not yet known.
  • The provincial education department says it has dispatched psychological assistance to the school. 
  • The department says the growing number of bullying cases in the province is concerning.

The Limpopo education department says it is investigating the circumstances surrounding a video which shows a Thohoyandou schoolgirl being bullied and assaulted.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the department says it believes the bullying victim has died.

"The learner is reported to have since passed away, however the cause of death is unknown. The department is awaiting a formal report on the cause from the relevant authorities," the statement reads.

In the video, the girl is seen being manhandled and slapped across her face multiple times by a fellow Mbilwi Secondary School pupil.

Other children can be heard cheering, while some are seen capturing videos of the incident on their cellphones as the two Grade 10 girls scuffle.

READ | Eastern Cape principal charged after 'forcing pupil into pit toilet to search for cell phone'

The department said the incident happened on Monday.

It sent its condolences to the deceased pupil's family and friends, and pledged to ensure that all those involved in bullying cases would face the consequences. 

Meanwhile, in another incident, a recorded video depicts an altercation involving two Grade 12 pupils from Nthuba High School.

The video has been shared on social media since Friday last week. 

READ | KZN pupil accused of assault is jailed for 3 months after court no-show

The department said the school's principal was requested to provide further details surrounding the incident - and disciplinary processes would immediately take place. 

"It is quite disturbing to witness this level of violent behaviour among young people. We strongly condemn such conduct that has turned our schools into horrendous havens for those who have no regard for their peers. Bullying is wrong and will never be tolerated in our schools," Education MEC Polly Boshielo said.

Attend

District teams were dispatched to the two schools to attend to the affected pupils, the department said. 

The MEC added that it was important for schools to be capacitated in order to strengthen enforcement of the code of conduct, especially with regard to bullying incidents.

"Education is a societal matter, therefore putting the responsibility on all of us to ensure a safe learning and teaching environment," Boshielo said.

The department said it had appointed Learner Support Agents in 10 education districts across the province to offer emotional support to vulnerable pupils.

The initiative was done in conjunction with the school safety programme, learner psychological services and life skills units.

Processes were also under way to intensify the unit's interventions in high burden areas, based on reports received from circuit offices, the department said.

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