Two Grade 11 pupils at Vukuzakhe High School in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, have been expelled after an old video of them beating a fellow pupil in the boarding school was leaked on social media.
A third pupil, who allegedly recorded the video, was suspended pending an investigation by the KZN education department.
The video, which is 2:30mins long, shows the bullies continuously shoving and slapping the victim, while confronting her about a rumour she allegedly spread.
Education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said the incident happened in September last year when the victim was in Grade 8, but was never reported to the department.
He condemned the incident, calling it “bad” and a “disappointment” to the department and the education system.
Said Mahlambi: “What the video displays about the bullying is shocking enough. We can’t imagine what the victim went through that went unrecorded.”
The victim is being monitored and is said to be responding “well” to treatment after being taken for trauma counselling when the video surfaced.
Izabella Gates, the author and managing director of Life Talk, a youth and parenting forum, said while the bullying was disturbing, authorities could be grateful that it was recorded as it provided proof of the incident.
“Bullying is a crisis level and it is happening all over the place. Schools need to implement a stronger focus on life skills to address the reasons for bullying,” Gates said.
Educational psychologist Cara Blackie said recording the bullying was the “ultimate embarrassment and form of control” because it could lead in the bully feeling a “great sense of pride”.
Blackie suggested that strict rules regarding punishment for bullying also be reinforced at schools, for it other children that the matters were taken seriously.
– Poppy Louw/TimesLIVE