Bullying scenario in South Africa

School children. File picture.
Image by: Moeletsi Mabe

Fifty-seven percent of school children claim they have been bullied at school, a survey revealed.

“These statistics reveal a culture of bullying that permeates South African schools,” said Shirley Wakefield, of consumer insights company Pondering Panda.

“It is an indictment of our education system that two out of three learners are worried about being bullied at school.”

The survey polled 2064 pupils aged between 13 and 21 and 1015 family members aged between 18 and 34.

According to the survey, 68 percent of pupils were worried about being physically assaulted or threatened with a weapon at school.

Seventy-one percent of the females surveyed said they felt threatened, compared to 63 percent of males.

Sixty-nine percent of young blacks and 54 percent whites worried about being attacked at school.

Pupils in Limpopo (78 percent) were most worried about being attacked.

Dangerous weapons in schools was a significant issue for pupils, with 45 percent believing other pupils brought guns and knives to school with them.

Fifty-two percent of pupils said bullying at their school comprised teasing and insults, while 26 percent said it was characterised by being pushed, hit or beaten.

The survey also measured incidents of cyber-bullying at schools, with 16 percent saying being threatened or insulted via cellphones, e-mail or social media was a problem.

Wakefield said: “In the face of dangerous weapons in the classroom and gangs in schools, outside intervention is essential to help address the prevalence of bullying.

“The solution cannot be left to teachers alone; it requires a co-ordinated effort between schools, communities and parents.”

Police also needed to play a role and intervene where necessary, she said.

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