A outraged mother has raised her concerns about bullying in schools. Her 10-year-old son has been a victim of bullying at one of the schools in Chatsworth for the past two years.

The mother who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons told The Chatsworth Tabloid that her son was now terrified to attend school. “I have been to the school on numerous occasions to address the matter with the principal, however my concerns and requests were ignored.”

She said the boy was refusing to attend school out of fear. He had his stationary stolen during the first few weeks of school. “He came home with nothing left in his case, I had purchased another set of stationary and it was only the first week in February. It is very disturbing that all of my pleas are being brushed aside by management,” she added.

The Department of Basic Education’s spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said, “The department does not take any form of violence or bullying in our schools lightly. We encourage parents to seek our assistance immediately if they feel their children’s safety is at risk”. Mhlanga said no child should fear attending school. “This is a fun, educational environment for all, strict action will be taken to ensure that all forms of violence and bullying is removed from our schools,” Former educator and mother of two, Jennet Reddy said, “I was an educator for almost 15 years, I have seen all forms of violence and bullying and many learners who fear attending school or start to resent school for this very reason. We need to take a stand against such behaviour.” The Child Welfare Chatsworth director, Salochana Moodley said is imperative for parents to educate their children about bullying hence stopping them from becoming bullies and to help those that are been bullied.

Tips for children that are been bullied:
• First step is to tell someone that you are been bullied.
• At school do not hang around in isolated areas where the bullies can target you.
• If you notice anyone else been bullied, report it to the nearest adult but do so without you becoming a target.

Coping mechanism if you are been bullied:
• Realise that you are not alone.
• It is not your fault.
• Talking about it helps you to overcome it and it also makes people aware that bullying is a real problem that children face.
• If you find that the situation still persists, you need tell your parents and your principal.
• Should you feel that it’s too much to take in, then you need to speak to someone neutral, there are places you can go to and activities that you can do.
• Always remain confident in yourself, none of us ask to be bullied but bullies tend to target the ones that are softer and gentler then the rest.

Coping mechanism for parents of children that are been bullied:
As a parent, its overwhelming knowing your child is experiencing bullying. It’s important as a parent you know how to react to the situation and be there for your child.
• Look for signs in your child, they might have a loss of appetite, not wanting to go to school.
• Build up your child’s confidence again by reassuring them that it wasn’t their fault.
• Listen to how they feel, if you notice they are not opening up to you, there are places you can take them to.
• As a parent, it is hard but remember it’s not your fault.
• Partner with the school to determine progress on the situation
• Should you feel that you need someone to talk to, there are places available.
• Have patience with your child during this time.

Organisations that can assist:
• Child Welfare Chatsworth – 031 403 1256
• Child line – 031 201 2059 or 031 312 9092
• Lifeline – 031 303 1344