Bullying 14

I attended an international early childhood development conference two weeks ago.  Some of the discussions were around children’s aggressive behaviour.

A lecturer from a university said that they while they were doing research in a school, they asked the grade 1 scholars to make their own class rules.  The first rule that the girls made was that the boys should not be allowed to rape them during break.  At that age I did not even know of the existence of the word rape, but for these young children it is a part of their everyday lives.

I read about a school, Tygersig Primary School in Mitchells Plain, that decided to tackle bullying.  They implemented a positive behavior programme.  As a part of the programme they were being educated in upholding good relationships. 

On 4 May 2012 they had an anti-bullying day. They integrated the bullying topic into the school’s literacy programme.  Each learner received a text to read and they had to do a comprehension test.  Children were also involved in a survey that will assist the teachers to implement programmes more effectively.

It is initiatives like this one that can change our world and contribute to the development of positive moral values.

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14 thoughts on “Bullying

  • Bulie Ndodana

    I agree with Christine Botha: school bullies grow up VERY QUICKLY to be Teachers, Senior Teachers, School Principals, Academics, Politicians, moms, dads,Business Executives…etc, but the issue of bullying is not given enough attention; it rears its ugly head everywhere, and I strongly believe that: (tongue-in-cheek!)most criminals were bullies at school(!?). Workplaces are hell for bullied employees! Employers are reluctant (or scared) to tackle the issue; some ignore it with the hope that it will somehow ‘go away’; sometimes it does ‘go away’ temporarily: (stress leave; employee intimidated into silence when bullies gang-up on him/er); it can also sometimes ‘go away’ permanently and tragically: (employee suicide; employee shoot the boss/colleague etc); sadly, it can also be ‘made’ to ‘go away legitimately’:(suspensions, ‘constructive’ dismissals etc).Teachers, on their own, with the limited resources (including TIME) at their disposal can only apply band-aid; the issue is bigger than playground episodes, especially if young bullies commit crimes like rape! Bullying requires a focused approach; bullying issues cannot be dealt with sufficiently in 1 or 2 Life Skills lessons: they are simply not enough to even raise awareness for the targets to speak up. Many young bullies and their targets grow up with baggage which has the potential to make them violent adults (for different reasons).

    Wilma, I sincerely hope that the start that has been made at Tafelsig will be sustained. Many schools start these initiatives but, as fate would have it, the adults ‘bully’ one another to the point where the one who is committed to the programme is seen to be ‘wasting time with useless initiatives’!

  • Tim Madgwick

    Just an interesting comment, I am the only male who has responded to this topic. Well done ladies your comments are all great and valid. We need to be sensitive to this topic at all levels in society. My God give us great wisdom in moulding people to respect each other.

  • Sonja Broschk

    Ladies, thank you for the responses.  Being a lecturer myself, I would never revert to swearing or bullying to get my point across – it is usually counter-productive in any case.  A positive behaviour model works more effectively.  I hope this can be made a country-wide requirement for teachers, as soon as possible.


  • Christine Botha

    Since ethics in the workplace has become such a critical issue and codes are being developed as we speak, maybe the same codes should be written and adopted by schools.  Bullying is part of unethical behaviour and a code, signed by every pupil, teacher and parent (with whistle-blowing options, custodians and off course consequences for contravention clearly spelled out).

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Sonja, I totally agree with you.  Where does bullying start?  Adults as role models.

    The response to this blog is hart-warming – it shows that we care and that we are concerned.

    BUT what are we going to do about this?  The adults at Tafelsig School is doing something about it.

  • Sonja Broschk

    If there are still people responding to this – I would like to mention or comment that bullying is not just limited to the other children.  What about teachers that revert to screaming and intimidating their class?  Is this not also an incentive for bullies to promote their actions as they are modelling teacher behaviour?

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Christine, the practical guide is a good idea.  Children only know how to pay bullying back with bullying or to stand still and accept it.

    Tim, it was yesterday in an Afrikaans newspaper about a case against a 12 year old that raped a grade R girl at aftercare and the comment ‘she struggles to identify the boy’, saddens me.  This poor girl went through the trauma and now she needs to identify the boy.  They know who it is.

    That is why I rather want to focus on the positive that is happening, like at Tygersig School.  I believe we can make a difference.

  • Christine Botha

    I agree with Tamsyn and Tass.  This is such a sad state of affairs.  The sad thing is that school bullies grow up to be workplace bullies.  I see bullying in many workplaces as common practice and often the culprits are senior managers (male and female).  While it is important to create awareness at schools, it is equally important to teach our children how to deal with bullies – maybe one of the ‘fundi’s’ can write a practical guide for use by parents and teachers if it doesn’t already exist?

  • Janine Basson-Hermanus

    I am sitting here and picturing this happening to my 3 year old daughter and I almost feel like crying. I am however so glad that the schools are stepping up their game in educating our children about this and hopefully more schools will add this awareness to their programmes.

  • Sharon Bard

    Oh my goodness, this is horrific. I cant imagine rape being a part of my life in grade 1. I knew bullying was rife but in my ignorance I had no idea that rape formed part of it, particularly for little grade 1 girls. Thank you for sharing this – schools provide a captive audience so interventions are imperative. Once kids  leave school the issues become much more difficult to manage.

  • Tim Madgwick

    My first reaction is – WHAT !! Either the girls do not understand fully the word rape or as parents we have failed. With these levels of violence how can anyone learn. We need to encourage mutual respect at all levels of society. We all need to take responsibility for our actions and those that we influence. 

  • Tamsin Puren

    Hi Wilma, thank you for the interesting article, quite disturbing that bullying is on the increase but I hope that more schools will tackle this topic headon.

  • Tass Schwab

    Sadly Bullying is not a topic that exists in the school arena. There are many adults in the workplace that were never taught that this kind of behavior is inappropriate, what is even more alarming many people who are in Supervisory capacities are still using these same tactics with their staff but do not appear to show this behavior around their peers… worrying.