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Bullied pupil in hospital after suicide attempt

By Zama Myeza

On Wednesday, the child tried to hang herself when everyone had left the classroom during break time.

A concerned parent of a pupil at a local primary school has expressed her concern after her daughter tried to take her life at school on Wednesday morning.

The mother received a call asking her to come to the school quickly. At the time, she was not aware of what had happened to her 12-year-old daughter, who is in Grade 7.

About six months ago, the child told her parents that she was being bullied by her classmates at the school.

The school was notified, however, the parents said no initiatives were taken to put an end to the bullying.

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Over the course of the next few months, the bullying reportedly got worse. The girl also reportedly endured xenophobic slurs.

On Wednesday, she tried to hang herself when everyone had left the classroom during break time.

She was found by her friend, who helped her get down from the table and then ran to call the deputy principal of the school.

“I honestly blame the school and the teachers for negligence. If they had done something about this matter the first time we reported it, this would have never happened,” said the mother of the young girl.

The head of communications at the Department of Education in KZN, Muzi Mahlambi, said: “Bullying and violence have been a big problem in our schools. We have addressed the matter and we have asked parents to help us in this matter as most bullying stems from the home.”

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Dan Moodley, the director of events at Love To Live, said that a number of cases of bullying in schools now result in suicide or attempted suicide.

“The young girl is definitely going to need counseling to assist her with dealing with her current predicament. Learners from her class may also need assistance. Schools really need to address the scourge of bullying that continues to result in learners crying out for help by deliberate self harm.”

The young girl is currently in hospital where she is in a stable condition. A psychologist has been allocated to the pupil to help her get through the year before she leaves the school.

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Kevin Fourie, a counselling psychologist, advised the parents of the girl to take legal action by laying charges against all the pupils who were involved in the bullying.

He said that “if [anti]-bullying initiatives are not being implemented in schools, the next step by parents should be to take on things in a legal manner in order to protect our children”.

The principal of the school did not comment on the incident.