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Family opens charges after child is bullied and abused

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The grandmother of a visually-impaired pupil at a Pietermaritzburg special needs school says she will not rest until a group of pupils who bullied and sexually abused her granddaughter are dealt with by authorities.

The woman told The Witness that she is not prepared to sweep the matter under the carpet and has opened criminal charges with the police regarding the abuse her granddaughter is suffering.

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She says attending school has become a nightmare for the child as she often returns home in tears because of the bullying which includes assault, name calling and an incident of sexual harassment.

I have been to the school several times to report this and get them to assist me, but nothing ever happens. In February, one of the pupils touched my child and made some inappropriate movements from behind her.

“I reported the matter to the school and even went to the police and opened a sexual harassment case, but still nothing happened,” she said.

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When she pursued her complaint and asked the school for feedback on what steps had been taken, the grandmother got the impression that the school was indifferent to the child’s ordeal, prompting her to report the case to social workers and to open criminal charges.

“I was told that the parents of the perpetrator were called and the matter had been talked through, but I was never called into the school. [I also understand] that the child has not even apologised for what he did. I want justice for my granddaughter. I want her to go to school freely, not fearing what will happen to her on that particular day.

“She is traumatised, and she does not even want to go to school now. I am also scared as a parent as to what is the worst that could happen to my child if nothing is not being done about this matter.”

I live with fear that one day she will come back badly injured. How are the children going to know that what they did to my child is wrong if nothing is being done about it?

The grandmother said she is considering home schooling if nothing further happens.

uMgungundlovu District police spokesperson, Sergeant Sifiso Gwala said a case of sexual assault was opened at the local police station and is currently under investigation. He said the mother has also reported that the child is being bullied.

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The school declined to comment, saying the matter was being handled by the Department of Education (DoE).

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi confirmed that the case was reported to the school and that both the DoE and the police were investigating the matter.



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