How to deal with school bul­ly­ing

CityPress - - News - BINWE ADE­BAYO binwe.ade­bayo@city­

Bul­ly­ing in schools is be­com­ing a se­ri­ous prob­lem around the world.

This week, Gaut­eng ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi or­dered a probe into an in­ci­dent that took place at a Vereenig­ing high school where a child was beaten and taunted by a fel­low pupil, while the teacher looked on.

Gail Dore, au­thor of the book Bully-Proof, which tack­les key is­sues around bul­ly­ing and is de­scribed as a “prac­ti­cal guide for par­ents, teach­ers and South African schools”, said bul­ly­ing at schools was a re­flec­tion of vi­o­lence in so­ci­ety.

“Bul­ly­ing in South African schools is pretty much the same as it is ev­ery­where, but it is def­i­nitely in­flu­enced by the level of vi­o­lence in our so­ci­ety,” she said in an in­ter­view with City Press.

She said de­nials of bul­ly­ing in schools was a ma­jor prob­lem. From schools in­sist­ing there was no bul­ly­ing to in­ci­dents of ini­ti­a­tion be­ing seen as “nor­mal” school­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, many cases go un­in­ves­ti­gated and the bul­ly­ing con­tin­ues.

Dore’s book also tack­les these causes and pro­vides dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to ad­dress­ing the bul­ly­ing is­sue.

She sug­gested a “whole school” ap­proach in­volv­ing teach­ers, par­ents and learn­ers as long-term so­lu­tions for bul­ly­ing.

“The tech­niques men­tioned in the book have been proven to be ef­fec­tive. All that is needed to dras­ti­cally re­duce in­ci­dents of bul­ly­ing in our schools is for schools to ap­ply these con­cepts con­sis­tently and with a will­ing­ness and de­ter­mi­na­tion to make ev­ery school a hurt-free zone,” she said.

Re­search on the sub­ject of bul­ly­ing does ex­ist, but of­ten fails to reach as many schools as it should, or the find­ings and strate­gies are sim­ply not used.

Dore said there needed to be more re­search for a long-term im­pact. She cited the Na­tional School Vi­o­lence Study, con­ducted by the Cen­tre for Jus­tice and Crime Preven­tion, in 2008 and 2012, which re­vealed that close to 16% of learn­ers said they had ex­pe­ri­enced bul­ly­ing at school.

“I would like read­ers to un­der­stand that bul­ly­ing, in all its var­i­ous forms, is a se­ri­ous prob­lem. Not only is

VIC­TIMISED A new book on

bul­ly­ing shows it’s a grow­ing prob­lem

in SA schools

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