An initiative to address bullying in schools has been launched by the Eastern Cape Education Department at Nonceba Senior Secondary School in Zwelitsha.
The Buffalo City district has the highest number of bullying incidents in the province. Last year, a Grade 10 pupil from Bisho High School, Lathitha Nako committed suicide after being bullied for having an ancestral calling.
Learners say bullying impacts their academic performance.
“I believe that there’s no reason for bullying, honestly it hasn’t been a nice experience because you have to pay attention to everything you do.”
Another learner advised that pupils talk to their educators if they are being bullied, “We would like to advise kids who are being bullied to talk to their teachers and to talk to their friends who they trust and solve the matter, also parents to take action on their kids’ behaviour.”
The head of Health and Safety for the Education Department, Pam Gxuluwe, says the department is tackling the issue on several levels.
“We have a circular 17 of 2021 that is sent to all schools which outlines all the different types of bullying so we are here to unpack that and also trying to inform the schools that are here that the learner support agents that are in their various schools will help them to carry through and continue with the program.”
File Video: Spotlight on the issue of bullying:
The 17-year-old pupil was allegedly bullying fellow pupils and teachers. The learner, who apparently failed the grade, was allegedly disruptive and demanded to be progressed to Grade 8.
In November last year, the suicide of a 16-year old Eastern Cape learner thrust the issue of bullying into the spotlight. Lathitha Nako, a Grade 10 learner at Bhisho High School, swallowed pesticide and died in hospital.
The circumstances around her death also sparked fierce debate and support for her on social media. Before her death, she spoke openly about the bullying she endured on social media platforms.