Bullied pupil suicidal

THE parents of a 10-year-old Grade 6 pupil claim that their child is suicidal after allegedly being constantly "beaten, insulted and picked on by fellow pupils".

One of the parents, S'bu Kunene, told Sowetan that his son attended the SE Vawda Primary School in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, and was at a stage where he "hates going to school".

"He said he could not take any more beatings, teasing and humiliation," said Kunene, a police officer.

Kunene said his son tried to commit suicide recently.

"The boy tried to take his life by using an empty perfume container at an open fire. And that worries me a lot. I'm afraid he might steal our weapons (his mother is also a police officer) and injure other pupils at school since he shows signs of aggression."

Kunene said his son had been complaining for months and despite the matter being raised with the school principal nothing has been done.

"Instead, last month he was lashed with a cane on the buttocks until he bled. We took him to Madadeni Hospital for treatment."

Kunene alleges that a certain teacher at the school calls on other pupils to "hit" his son.

"The boy doesn't like going to school now. He always talks about revenge against the pupils who punish him," Kunene said.

"We want the department to act speedily on this matter before it is too late."

Education Department circuit manager Innocent Mbuli said the issue had been brought to their attention by a ward inspector after complaints by the parents.

"We are on top of the situation right now. There has been communication between the school, parents and ward inspector," he said.

Mbuli said since there is the suicide threat they are sending a psychologist to assist the child.

"And if the teacher in question also has a problem we will try and assist him. For now the matter is being investigated," Mbuli said.

Recently, a 13-year-old Pietermaritzburg pupil, S'duduzo Qulo, committed suicide after telling his mother that he did not want to return to his school next year allegedly because of a "racist teacher" who picked on him.

The matter is under investigation by the Education Department and SA Human Rights Commission.