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Teacher ‘humiliated’ by pupils’ cyberbullying

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A high school teacher said that reading the insults directed at her on social media posts was the most humiliating and degrading thing she had ever experienced.

File image: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

IN A SHOCKING evolution of cyberbullying, high school pupils at a school in the Western Cape have humiliated not only their peers, but teachers by name in a social media post.

A Kraaifontein High School teacher, who spoke on condition that they remain anonymous, said reading the insults about herself was the most humiliating and degrading thing she had ever experienced.

There are two lists the Cape Times newspaper has seen. This first, which has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp, purports to be a “slut shaming” list – naming young girls alongside allegations of the sexual encounters they’re claimed to have had.

The second list, posted on Facebook, names teachers and attaches degrading statements on their appearances, among other things.

The school could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, despite multiple attempts.

The teacher said it was not the first time the pupils had published a “slut-shaming” list, as something similar was done last year.

She said there needed to be a hard look into schools’ social media policies – that every school should have one, and this must be enforced.

“When I first saw it on Monday, I burst into tears, it was one of the most humiliating things I have ever seen. It’s very humiliating for all the teachers … it has been shared among all the pupils. The statements are so vulgar, it’s things you never say or even think about.

“This has happened before at the school, but it’s the first time it’s involved teachers. Nothing was done previously, the kids have taken it to another level.”

The teacher said no therapy had been offered to either the teachers or pupils.

“We think we at least need therapy, especially since what happened in Limpopo.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said all schools were asked to draw up and publish a social media policy, but they did not have statistics on how many schools had done so as it was not currently monitored.

Following a request by them to include this in the school improvement monitoring process, it would be done in the second term, she said.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said on Tuesday that the district director was making enquiries with regards to the alleged lists circulating at Kraaifontein High School.

“The circulation of such comments is very disturbing, and the responsible individuals must be held accountable.

’’We have also specifically asked schools to ensure that they include social media policies in their codes of conduct, and will be monitoring during the second term whether this has been done,” Schäfer said.