MPs discuss bullying in schools

eNCA's Lindsay Dentlinger reports. Courtesy of #DStv403

CAPE TOWN - Violence and the abuse of drugs and alcohol - are major contributors to bullying in schools was the focus of MPs, who debated the actions needed to put an end to it.

Opposition parties have criticised the Basic Education department for inadequate policies to stop bullying.

The department says it'll be launching a nationwide, annual anti-violence drive, in response to rising cases.

READ: School bullying | Action against perpetrators promised

At the forefront of discussions, was a bullying incident in Limpopo. It led to Grade 10 pupil, Lufuno Mavhunga taking her own life.

MPs agree South Africa's generally violent society, is spilling over into schools.

Basic Education Portfolio Committee Chair Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba said, "our critical responsibility is to transform society and prioritise the rights of children."

EFF MP Suzan Thembekwayo said, "we must end the general culture of assault to earn respect. Simply arresting and taking to prison won't resolve it. We must take it through the roots that make black lives indispensable."

DA MP Bridget Masango said, "this calls for every one of us to encourage breaking the silence on bullying, support our children, and take the sting of secrecy out of the equation, expose the perpetrators and stop them in their tracks."

The ACDP believes the Basic Education department's anti-bullying policies and codes of conduct, are inadequate.

READ: HRC slams Limpopo govt and Education Department

The ACDP's Steve Swart said, "the current schools act does not contain a definition for bullying or cyberbullying. School disciplinary codes are not sufficient to deal with bullying, especially cyberbullying."

The deputy minister has defended the department's policies, saying they extend to online learning.

Basic Education Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule said, "the department has developed an e-safety guidelines to education learners about different types of bullying, particularly online bullying and encourages them to be vigilant when using an e-learning programme and technology."

Mhaule says bullying won't be tolerated in South African schools, and that bystanders should instead seek help and support.


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