School bully caught on video set to face charges

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - NONI MOKATI

THE Dur­ban boy caught on so­cial me­dia vi­o­lently at­tack­ing and ver­bally abus­ing a fel­low school­mate this week now faces as­sault charges af­ter the video of his bru­tal out­burst caused a so­cial me­dia storm.

In the video the teenager ap­proaches a class­mate out­side the school.

He is at least a head taller than the vic­tim and, with a sin­gle push, has the boy on the ground, shout­ing and threat­en­ing to put him “in hos­pi­tal next time” and ac­cus­ing him of snitch­ing on him.

As the vic­tim pleads to be left alone, a girl is heard laugh­ing and say­ing “he’s cry­ing”.

The in­ci­dent took place out­side a school in Hil­lary, Dur­ban, and is the sec­ond pub­lic in­ci­dent of bul­ly­ing in the past two weeks.

In the first in­ci­dent, which emerged on Face­book, a 16-year-old Cape Town girl recorded on What­sApp in­tim­i­dat­ing a 14-year-old girl.

Swear­ing and curs­ing, she says, “I’m beau­ti­ful and you’re not”, and warns her tar­get to “make sure po­lice es­cort you to school or I’ll es­cort you to the grave”.

The girl, who has been sus­pended from school, has pub­licly apol­o­gised for her be­hav­iour. Both in­ci­dents prompted out­rage.

The Dur­ban vic­tim’s sis­ter, who can­not be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of her 16-yearold brother, said yes­ter­day he was “shaken up” but had “no vis­i­ble wounds”.

“He wants this all to be over. He wants the bully out of his school. He loves his school and wants to go back, but he wants to be safe.

“He’s not an­gry, just dis­ap­pointed that it had to go this far for things to be done.”

The school’s gov­ern­ing body said in a state­ment yes­ter­day it had be­gun in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses and the of­fender had been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended.

Lawyer Diana Sch­warz, of PPM At­tor­neys, said the Pro­tec­tion From Ha­rass­ment Act made pro­vi­sion for mi­nors who were in­tim­i­dated by other mi­nors to lay charges against them.

The 2011 act says a vic­tim of bul­ly­ing may ask the courts for an in­terim pro­tec­tion or­der.

“Chil­dren un­der the age of 18 can lay charges of bul­ly­ing or ha­rass­ment against a bully.

“Chil­dren from the ages of 10 to 18 are deemed to be legally li­able for their ac­tions and can be sued for defama­tion civilly,” Sch­warz said.

Pro­fes­sor Ann Skel­ton, from the Cen­tre for Child Law at the Univer­sity of Pretoria, agreed cases could be ad­dressed in terms of the Pro­tec­tion from Ha­rass­ment Act.

“If the cy­ber bul­ly­ing in­volves any sex­ual of­fences, for in­stance, send­ing re­veal­ing pho­tos to other par­ties, these are clas­si­fied as crimes un­der the Crim­i­nal Law

which in­volves Sex­ual Of­fences and Re­lated Mat­ters,” she added.

In an­other re­cent in­ci­dent, pupils at a Plum­stead school re­ceived trauma coun­selling af­ter a 14-year-old Grade 7 pupil com­mit­ted sui­cide al­legedly as a re­sult of be­ing bul­lied.

The boy was al­legedly ridiculed by teach­ers who tar­geted him for be­ing a slow learner.

Last month Al­dane Chetty, 18, from a school in Shall­cross, Dur­ban, ended up in the in­ten­sive care unit af­ter six boys al­legedly beat him with a metal rod dur­ing school hours af­ter he chal­lenged a class­mate who was rude to a teacher.

This video, which caused a storm on so­cial me­dia, has led to the at­tacker be­ing charged with as­sault.

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