'Schools must deal with bullying'

THE department of education in KwaZulu-Natal has said schools should stand by their code of conduct to curb the scourge of bullying in schools.

This came after last week's arrest of two boys for bullying at Glenwood High School in Durban.

"Schools should abide by their code of conduct to deal with bullying or any acts that violate the school's protocol," said department spokesperson Mbali Thusi yesterday.

Thusi said it was also the responsibility of parents to discipline their children and teach them ethical values.

She said the introduction of subjects such as life orientation was to help students deal better with emotional abuse, suffered within or outside the school premises.

Educational psychologist Graeme Halse said: "PlayStations should be put away and team building programmes like the scouts should be made a necessity again.

"The bullying behaviour in schools is caused by inadequate role models."

Halse said in most cases the children bullied were those who lacked self-esteem as they became soft targets for the bullies. He said parents should teach their children to be assertive and to take part in sports activities.

"Bullies get the feeling of importance by bullying other children. Children need to be taught discipline and respect for their peers," said Halse.

Nomasonto Ngwenya, whose son was a victim of bullying, said: "Teachers have gone soft on these kids; a learner's standard of learning will be affected if one is bullied."

National Teachers Union spokesperson Allen Thompson said: "Bullying could also be contributing to the high drop-out rate."