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Gauteng MEC Says Bullying Is Under-Reported
 Gauteng MEC Says Bullying Is Under-Reported

Bullying is a severe problem for Gauteng schools, but the true scale is not known due to under-reporting, provincial education MEC Barbara Creecy said.

“The true extent of bullying is not known and will not be known because in most instances we find that learners or their parents do not report the incidents,” Creecy said in prepared remarks at a colloquium on the subject.

Creecy said parents and pupils did not report bullying because they feared further victimisation.

Some schools were guilty of not reporting bullying to the provincial department because they believed they could contain the problem or conceal it to maintain their “perfect” record.

Bullying gangs often become violent gangs that are involved in crime, so schools need to respond pro-actively to bullying to prevent it becoming gangsterism. Research shows that most children believe that when they report the bullying to an educator nothing is going to be done to stop it.

The Role of Educators with regards to Bullying. Educators have to help eliminate bullying. Following are some ideas:

Set an example by treating all children with respect. Never pick on a physical characteristic or a difference when disciplining a child. Teaching children to be assertive and boosting every child’s self-confidence will help them deal with bullies.

All schools should have an anti-bullying policy that seeks to protect all children. It is very important that learners know that all forms of bullying are totally unacceptable within the school.

It is also important to be aware of the needs of a child who is a bully. Bullying behaviour is sometimes a sign that the bully is experiencing problems at home.

Indicate to a bully, that their behaviour is unacceptable. In addition, be prepared to work with the bully to help them find alternative ways of behaving

Creecy said bullying had resulted in at least two pupils in Gauteng committing suicide. She said few school programmes had been proven to tackle bullying and they were expensive to implement.

“Few evidence-based programmes have proven effective at reducing bullying in some schools and those that have are cost-prohibitive for many schools,” Creecy said.

The provincial education department was rolling out its own plans to combat bullying, including at “high-risk” schools, and policy documents for all schools.

Schools were encouraged to review the policy for its effectiveness.

“In this way, we hope the policy will be respected and enforced as the department has adopted a collaborative approach,” she said.

The department would also be implementing violence prevention as part of the school curriculum, and providing counselling.

Some schools would get patrollers to provide 24-hour security, security cameras and metal detectors.

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