Gauteng MEC demands speedy probe into school bullying incident
News 24 reported that in Johannesburg – Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has called for the Sedibeng district to “act speedily” in its investigation into a bullying incident that was apparently allowed by a teacher at the Krugerlaan School in Vereeniging.
“The MEC visited the school this morning [Wednesday] and met the parents of the learner, the SGB chairperson and the school’ management team… The department is expecting a report from the school,” provincial education spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane told News24.
“The MEC expressed his disappointment with what had happened at the school. He impressed upon the district [the need] to investigate and act speedily on the issue of whether the learners were supervised.
“Our labour relations section has been instructed to go into the school to investigate the issue of the supervision of learners.”
Sekhonyane said the incident reportedly happened on Friday, and it came to the department’s attention on Sunday.
The school is for pupils with learning disabilities.
A video showing a pupil physically assaulting another has gone viral.
The video begins with a teenager saying that he had permission to assault the boy, who he then subsequently slaps, punches and knees.
As the camera pans around, a person who is purportedly their teacher can be seen sitting at his desk marking books. After the beating, the teenager on the receiving end of the blows can be seen with his finger in his mouth as the bully instructs him to pull out his tooth.
The video had received 2 108 690 views on Facebook by Wednesday afternoon.
‘Parents please unite’
Reaction to the video dominated a “Krugerslaan skool” page on Facebook, with several people complaining that the school was not answering their calls to complain.
When News24 called the school it was told that the principal was not available for comment. The school referred queries to the department’s district office, which in turn referred News24 back to Sekhonyane.
Facebook user Jacky Botha started a petition on Change.org addressed to the minister of basic education and President Jacob Zuma. It was titled: “NO TO BULLYING AT KRUGERLAAN SCHOOL AND ALL SCHOOLS IN SOUTH AFRICA!”
She writes on the petition page: “Many people have been outraged that this school has a record of bullying being allowed and nothing is being done. South Africa has a bad reputation that this is not an isolated case and is prevalent in schools around the country.
“Parents please unite, let us help the children in our schools! Please share this petition so that we can get as many signatures as possible.”
‘They’ll kill you there’
A former pupil told News24 that he was only at the school for a year and left because “they’ll kill you there.
“You have normal classes, and after that you go to woodwork or sheet metal classes. I saw guys taking sheets of metal, and they cut out pieces of blades and sharpen them with a grinder and hide [them] away,” he said.
Nelmarie Ruysch, whose son used to go to the school, told Netwerk24 earlier that a former teacher had told her: “Your son is a sissy. Calm down please,” after she complained that her son (then 15) was being bullied.
“He is slim built and suffered a lot.
“[The bullies] stole his food and lunch money and kicked him until his fingers became dislocated.
“He ate [his lunch] in interval in the class.”
Ruysch said the bullying included her son’s neck being burned with hot wood.
Told not to make an’issue’
She said she repeatedly brought it to the school’s attention, but a teacher who is no longer at the school told her to calm down and not make an issue of it.
Facebook user Ann Cuchet von Brandis posted on the Krugerlaan Skool page about her child’s experience at the school.
“My son attended Krugerlaan School and it is not just bullying between the kids… my son was chased off the bus some years ago because he went over the road to buy a small packet of chips from the vendors across the road,” she said.
“He had to walk from Vereeniging all the way to Henley on Klip [about 20km] as I work in Johannesburg and could not get there to pick him up.
“I contacted the GED [Gauteng education department] and it was taken up, but as far as I was concerned, this was unacceptable! The teacher in question (when I went to see the school the next day), told me that he was just looking out for the kids and that it was unsafe for them to go over the road whilst waiting for the bus… what the hell was the walk from Vereeniging to Henley on Klip???,” said the Facebook post.
“That was unsafe. I can’t say he was unhappy at the school, but I believe that there is a lot that has gone unnoticed.”