Education MEC: Bullying at Schools is Under-Reported

Bullying has become a serious problem for Gauteng schools in recent years but provincial Education MEC Barbara Creecy says that the true scale of the problem is not known due to under-reporting.

At a colloquium on bullying in Turffontein on Tuesday, Creecy said that the true extent of bullying is not, and will not, be known because learners and parents afraid of further victimisation do not report the incidents. Not only are the learners and their parents afraid, but schools themselves are guilty of not reporting incidents because they fear it would harm their records or they believe that they can handle the problem themselves.

Creecy said that bullying had resulted in at least two suicides by Gauteng pupils so far, but as to what can be done about the issue may be limited.

“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 itself will be rolling out its own bullying combat plans, especially at “high-risk” schools and schools have been encouraged to provide feedback on the effectiveness of these plans. They also said that they would be introducing violence prevention as part of the school curriculum, and providing counselling. In some areas, schools would be provided with 24-hour security, cameras and metal detectors.

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