22 November 2012

South Africa: Act Against Bullying, Urges Creecy

Boksburg — Gauteng MEC for Education, Barbara Creecy, has appealed to parents, teachers and school principals to take action as soon as they notice signs of bullying.

"Issues of school bullying are very serious," said Creecy on Thursday, during a visit to Phineas Xulu Secondary School in Ekurhuleni, where a learner was shot dead by a fellow pupil following allegations of bullying by the deceased and his friends.

Creecy went on to urge parents not to ignore bullying, and take the necessary steps to address the matter with the school or the department.

In a media briefing after addressing staff members at the school, Creecy said her department would provide humanitarian support to the family of the deceased.

"We will ensure that the deceased is buried with dignity."

The MEC has also instructed the district to immediately start with disciplinary proceedings against the other three learners who are said to be involved in the bullying of the suspect. Measures would also be taken to ensure that weapons are not brought onto school premises.

Creecy said she has had discussions with the Gauteng MEC for Safety, and that she had promised to offer assistance.

"We are bringing in patrollers to the school to assist by searching the learners when entering the school," said Creecy.

The suspect in the shooting is the son of a policewoman, and it is alleged he stole her service pistol and used it to shoot his fellow pupil.

Creecy said police were conducting investigations with regard to the firearm. The mother of the grade 11 suspect said her firearm was always locked in a safe, and that she had no idea how it landed in her son's hands.

The teenager is in police custody and is expected to appear in court today.

Teaching at the school resumed today, although some learners were experiencing some difficulties with concentration.

The Gauteng Education Department has arranged counselling for teachers and the learners.

Despite the incident, the matric exams were not disrupted.

The mood at the school is sombre and some learners could be seen preparing themselves for their internal examinations.

Magdalene Nkosi, a grade 10 pupil, said the incident had left her feeling scared and that she found it hard to believe that it had really happened.

"I'm so traumatised," she said.

A memorial service will be held at the school tomorrow.

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