A grade 10 South African pupil, Lufuno Mavhunga, has allegedly committed suicide after she was assaulted by another pupil at the school on Monday.
In a video that has gone viral on social media, the pupil from Mbilwi Secondary School in Limpopo is seen being confronted by a fellow pupil; before the confrontation is interrupted by another pupil who unexpectedly slaps her numerous times.
Other pupils were the alleged perpetrator in the background cheering; who is also in grade 10.
Twitter users started a Twitter campaign on Tuesday in the name of the pupil.
Limpopo education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene confirmed the incident.
“The victimized pupil is reported to have since passed away. However, the cause of death is unknown. The department is awaiting a formal report on the cause from the relevant authorities”
Comments from her school
She said the department was concerned about an apparent increase in bullying incidents in schools around the province.
“The department has also noted another recording of a physical altercation incident involving grade 12 female pupils from Nthuba High School making the rounds on social media. Details of this incident have been requested from the school principal; and due disciplinary processes will be undertaken immediately.
Moreover, it is quite disturbing to witness this level of violent behaviour among young people. We strongly condemn such conduct that has turned our schools into horrendous havens for those who have no regards for their peers. Bullying is wrong and will never be tolerated in our schools” Chuene said.
“The department has appointed pupil support agents who are based in the 10 education districts across the province to offer emotional support to vulnerable pupils.
This is done in conjunction with programmes offered by the school safety, pupil psychological services and life skills units. Processes are under way to intensify their interventions in high-burden areas, based on reports received from circuit offices” Chuene continued.
The department also dispatched district psychologist teams to the schools to attend to the affected pupils.
Education MEC Polly Boshielo promised action against bullies.
“We send our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased pupil and pledge our commitment towards ensuring all those involved in bullying incidents are made to face the consequences of their actions.
It is important we also capacitate our schools to strengthen enforcement of their code of conduct, especially regarding such incidents. Education is a societal matter, therefore putting the responsibility on all of us to ensure a safe learning and teaching environment.” She concluded