Bullying: What more can we do to stop violence in our schools?


What is this world coming to?

Why on earth should a 13-year-old child have to undergo reconstructive surgery because he was kicked in the face?

Corne Geyer, a grade six pupil at a primary school in Cape Town, was the victim of a brutal bullying attack at school last Thursday, 23 February 2017. It's believed that Corne has been bullied by the same boy for the past two years, but nothing has been done to stop it.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, told Parent24 the department is concerned about the violent and aggressive nature of the incident, but coupled with this, the school has no record or report of the alleged victim being bullied on a previous occasion.

"The school is dealing with the matter in terms of their code of conduct and the perpetrator has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. The victim has been booked off until next Monday. Counselling and support will be provided for the victim as required," said Shelver.

Die Son reported that Corne's dad took him to Louis Leipoldt hospital, but then they were sent to Tygerberg hospital. After his examination and having X-rays done, they found there is extensive damage to Corne's nose and cheekbone and there was concern that he may lose function of his eye. Parent24 has contacted his representative, but we're yet to receive confirmation regarding his medical status.

Corne's family is seeking justice: the incident has been reported to the police and they've hired a legal representative, Advocate Eben Klue. Klue told TMG that he is working toward opening a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator, the school and the department.

A family member forwarded an email to Die Son and claimed that after the bullying incident, Corne was made to sit in his class for over an hour. Only when he began crying from the pain did the school make an effort to contact his parents. Corne's dad, Donald, also told Die Son he found Corne lying in a waiting room with a cloth over his face, reeling from the pain, his face not even wiped or tended to yet. Donald was disgusted at the manner in which the school handled the situation and this is one of a few reasons why his family decided to take it further.

The Department of Education has a number of resources on bullying available for teachers, principals and school governing bodies. There is no regulation standardising anti-bullying procedures, but every school should have a code of conduct, outlining the steps to be taken when bullying is reported. Parent24 requested to see this school's bullying policy, but it is yet to be forwarded.

One of the guidelines by the Department is this anti-bullying toolkit, which boasts a 10-point plan to help curb bullying:

Also read: 6 Dangerous myths about bullying

Also read: Bullying videos: what the SA law says

Also read: Is your child being bullied? Here's how to check

Also read: Is your child a cyberbully?

Also read: Bullying and viral videos: a match made in hell

Also read: Don't bully the bully

Also read: Does your school have an effective anti-bullying strategy?

The Education Department provides many anti-bullying documents and guidelines for teachers, school principals and governing bodies to refer to. What is your opinion on the way schools and the department manage bullying? Share your thoughts and advice about this incident, and bullying as a whole, by emailing chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your story. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.

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