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Limpopo principal under fire over apparent failure to intervene in bullying case

CapeTalk logo CapeTalk 2021-04-16
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It's understood that grade 10 pupil Lufuno Mavhunga died by suicide on Monday after a video of her being attacked by a fellow pupil went viral.

The video shows the 15-year-old girl being slapped by a fellow pupil while others cheered her on.

The police have since arrested the pupil who perpetrated the assault,

Mavhunga's tragic death has thrust the issues of school bullying and teen suicide back into the spotlight.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says that its preliminary findings indicate that the principal of the school failed to take appropriate action when the Mavhunga family alerted him to the incident.

The commission conducted a fact-finding visit to the school on Wednesday.

Limpopo education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene previously told reporters that the principal had planned on following up on the matter the day after the incident (on Tuesday), but it was too late.

The Basic Education Department (DBE) says it's investigating the incident to establish the facts.

RELATED: Limpopo education dept investigates after pupil who was bullied in video dies

On Thursday, Limpopo Education MEC Polly Boshielo and Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba visited the Mavhunga family to pay their respects. They also visited Mbilwi Secondary School

DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says there are various guidelines, including a school safety framework, on how to address bullying in schools.

He says parents need to work alongside teachers and principals to watch out for signs of bullying.

RELATED: Parents urged to be alert to teen depression after suicide of two Gr. 11 pupils

Yes... What Tidimalo Chuene from the Limpopo Education said is what we know. Officials had been there and MEC's went there yesterday.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

The investigation is still ongoing. We will establish the facts exactly and at a later stage, we should be able to understand what took place.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

What is disturbing is that you see other learners cheering on... that is also what we need to talk about in terms of the role of a bystander.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

Everybody knows what needs to be done but... it needs the parent to be sensitive to what the child is going through and for the school to play its part.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

A lesson from this is that we need to treat every case as a serious one and make sure that we take it seriously because a life could be lost.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

As soon as the teacher or school principal gets hold of the information, they will call the learner to get more information... just to understand what has taken place. And then a call or a letter should be dispatched to the parent so that they can come to school for a meeting.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

The tools [to address bullying] are there... but at the end of the day it comes down to the implementation, whether the people in charge or the people who receive a report of bullying from a learner are able to respond sensitively and immediately to attend to the matter.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education

Listen to the discussion on Early Breakfast with Africa Melane:

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