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Limpopo pupil allegedly commits suicide after being bullied at school

Video circulating on social media shows the girl being slapped multiple times

13 April 2021 - 16:10 By nomahlubi sonjica
A Limpopo girl has allegedly committed suicide after a bullying incident at school. Stock photo.
A Limpopo girl has allegedly committed suicide after a bullying incident at school. Stock photo.
Image: SAMORN TARAPAN/123rf.com

A grade 10 Limpopo schoolgirl allegedly committed suicide after a video of her being bullied by fellow pupils went viral.

In the video, the pupil from Mbilwi Secondary School in the Vhembe East education district is seen being confronted by two other girls. One of them signals the other to move while she gets closer to her to slap her countless times. The victim grabs the pupil who is assaulting her in an attempt to block the blows.

Other pupils can be heard in the background cheering the alleged perpetrator, who is also in grade 10. 

Twitter users started a Twitter campaign on Tuesday in the name of the pupil.

Photos of the pupil who is seen assaulting her schoolmate in the video were also circulated on social media.

Limpopo education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene confirmed the incident.

“The victimised pupil is reported to have since passed away. However, the cause of death is unknown. The department is awaiting a formal report on the cause from the relevant authorities,” said Chuene.

She said the department was concerned about an apparent increase in bullying incidents in schools around the province.

“The department has also noted another recording of a physical altercation incident involving grade 12 female pupils from Nthuba High School making the rounds on social media. Details of this incident have been requested from the school principal and due disciplinary processes will be undertaken immediately.

“It is quite disturbing to witness this level of violent behaviour among young people. We strongly condemn such conduct that has turned our schools into horrendous havens for  those who have no regards for their peers.  Bullying is wrong and will never be tolerated in our schools,” Chuene said.

Education MEC Polly Boshielo promised action against bullies.

“We send our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased pupil and pledge our commitment towards ensuring all those involved in bullying incidents are made to face the consequences of their actions,” she said.

“It is important we also capacitate our schools to strengthen enforcement of their code of conduct, especially regarding such incidents. Education is a societal matter, therefore putting the responsibility on all of us to ensure a safe learning and teaching environment.”

The department has appointed pupil support agents who are based in the 10 education districts across the province to offer emotional support to vulnerable pupils.

“This is done in conjunction with programmes offered by the school safety, pupil  psychological services and life skills units. Processes are under way to intensify their interventions in high-burden areas, based on reports received from circuit offices,” said Chuene.

The department also dispatched district psychosocial teams to the schools to attend to the affected pupils.