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City girl suicidal after bullying

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“We chose to continue with private counselling. The department assisted us in transferring my daughter to another school at the beginning of the year”

A CITY mother is desperately trying to enrol her daughter at a special needs school after she became a victim of school bullying and now suffers from suicidal tendencies.

The mother said that her daughter, who is in Grade 7, had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

“She obtains a day pass to attend school or to visit family members over weekends. She still bears the scars of being exposed to cruel and hurtful behaviour from her peers last year. She becomes anxious easily and has severe mood swings.

“The children at her old school teased her because she is allergic to peanuts. They told her that she would infect them with ‘her virus’ and knocked her glasses off her face. It appears as if nothing was done to address the bullying at the school.”

The mother added that following the incident, her daughter tried to throw herself off a balcony at the school.

“Thankfully someone saw her in time and prevented her from harming herself. At that time the other pupils were busy writing their year-end exams and my daughter was not able to cope. We could not understand what was happening and took her to a private psychiatrist. She was admitted to hospital and was diagnosed with acute depression.”

The mother said that the Department of Education had offered to provide her daughter with counselling by a psychologist appointed by it.

“We chose to continue with private counselling. The department assisted us in transferring my daughter to another school at the beginning of the year. They agreed to allow her to be progressed to Grade 7, although she had not completed her Grade 6 exams.”

She indicated that although the incidents of bullying had stopped after her daughter was transferred to the school that she is currently attending, her daughter was “not herself”.

“She still says that she often thinks about taking her own life and has lost the will to live. I constantly worry about her and feel so hopeless because I don’t know how to help her.

“If she experiences a panic attack, she becomes short of breath, faints and collapses onto the floor. I did advise the school principal about her condition, as she is not feigning sickness or trying to look for attention.”

The mother stated that her daughter was falling behind with her school work and was fretful after she was told that she was disrupting classes.

“I just want to send my child to a school that understands her and knows how to help her to deal with the trauma. It is not her fault that she was bullied.”

She added that while Elizabeth Conradie School (Elcon) was willing to accommodate her daughter, as she was next in line on the waiting list, the transfer had to be processed by the Department of Education.

Spokesperson for the Department of Education Lehuma Ntuane said the necessary arrangements had been made to facilitate the transfer of the pupil to Elcon from next term.

He pointed out that the school’s key focus was on pupils with learning disabilities.

“The department did offer professional help for the pupil but it was indicated that she was already receiving counselling from a private practitioner.”