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Fri May 27 08:33:48 CAT 2016

Nip bullying monster in bud to prevent more pain: iLIVE

Nhlanhla Cele, Centurion | 26 November, 2012 00:29
A high school pupil appeared before the Boksburg Magistrate's Court last week, accused of murdering a fellow pupil who had allegedly bullied him Picture: DANIEL BORN

I sympathise with both the deceased and victim of the latest tragedy at Phineas Xulu Secondary School.

Life is a gift from God that must be protected, not taken. The deceased was just a boy doing what other youths do - and what has become a norm.

Society failed him.

For years, the accused was tormented by fellow pupils and peers. He endured that without any protection forthcoming from his parents, the school, police and society.

We seem to have learnt, in one way or another, to begrudgingly live with and accept bullying.

Bullying's tentacles extend beyond the confines of a schoolyard. One finds it manifesting itself in many strata of society such as politics, neighbourhood gangs, domestic violence and workplace power plays.

On the one hand, it is crude and blatant. On the other, it is covert and sophisticated.

Society and organisations' failure to protect victims against tormenters has often led to dire and regrettable consequences. Usually, however, structures and processes are in place to address such incidents, but they are either dysfunctional or maladministered by those who are entrusted with implementation.

At the workplace, for example, one can find that a grievance procedure only exists in name, and is manipulated to serve friends and the interests of the powerful - at the expense of tormented victims.

Then you wake up and read about tragedies such as the one at Phineas Secondary that, unfortunately, represents a culmination of prolonged torment.

My parting shot is to implore society and other relevant structures, which are entrusted with the protection of their members, to up their game and provide the necessary leadership, vigilance and efficiency that will confront and uproot this evil behaviour - wherever it rears its ugly head, before things spiral out of control.


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