South African school halls are one of the most dangerous, it
is reported that 57% of South African learners have been bullied on and off
According to Cleo Protogerou and Alan Flisher, Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, scholars from the University of Cape
Town - bullying is a subset of aggressive behaviour that is expressed in an
open, direct way like physically hitting.
It is also expressed in a relational, indirect way like
spreading rumours, gossiping, excluding and isolating someone from a group.
However recently, the internet has provided an arena for
additional types of bullying dubbed cyber-bullying, including behaviours such
as name-calling using social media channels, sending threatening messages,
posting one’s picture or video on the Internet without permission.
Considering that we have 2.2 million school-going children
in this country, those percentages translate into truly tragic numbers.
Gail Dore a family counsellor says that she believes that
children who bully other suffer from a very deep-seated sense of inadequacy.
In South Africa we have also seen the rise of learners
stabbing teachers to death and some attacking each other in plain view.
Research has shown that bullies seek to gain external
validation from their peers by terrorising them.
They seek to gain an elevated status that comes with being
feared by others.
Most schools in Gauteng have shown disturbing signs of this
escalating problem that has its roots deep in the home environment.
Bullying can prove fatal for both the bully and the victim,
if it is not brought to an adult’s attention.
We have seen learners take their own lives because of
bullying and in some instances kill the bully.
The solution to this could be actively involved by ensuring
that all schools get a school counsellor.
That not only is the counsellor a trained professional but
creates a neutral ground where learners can feel safe to speak of both academic
and personal challenges.