By Loide Jason
ONGWEDIVA – Many Grade 11 learners at Eheke Senior Secondary School in Oshana Region have stopped attending classes due to bullying by unruly Grade 12 learners, who allegedly beat them, take their food and force them to hand over their money meant for school fees.
According to some of the learners’ parents that spoke to New Era on condition of anonymity for fear of their children being targeted further, their children have revealed they are beaten and forced to surrender their belongings to Grade 12s.
“When my child came home for the first out-weekend last Friday, she refused to go back to school after telling me they are being bullied at school,” lamented one parent.
Parents condemned the wayward behaviour of the older learners saying the torment they subject the younger learners to is disruptive to learning.
A parent noted that one of the reasons why bullying in schools is still widespread is because many schools tend to downplay such intimidation and even turn a blind eye to the social evil.
“Eheke should take these incidents seriously as some bullies claim bullying is part of growing up.
“In other words, the proliferation of bullying can be attributed to the lack of bullying prevention procedures at schools,” said a concerned parent.
Parents thus want measures to be put in place to mitigate bullying and have teachers act on all reported incidents.
While the alleged perpetrators must not automatically be judged as guilty, thorough investigations should take place to get to the bottom of schoolyard terrorism, said another parent.
“Older learners are supposed to have developed confidence and maturity in school but now they are the ones terrorizing our children. This is not acceptable,” bemoaned a parent.
The principal of the school Stevenson Nakaziko said two cases involving bullying were reported to his office and action was taken against the culprits.
“The first case involved nine learners and the second case five learners. We will suspend these learners for a few days and also make sure that we inform their parents about the matter,” said Nakaziko.
Nakaziko said when learners arrived at school for the fisrt term he held an assembly and informed them to report any strange activities on the school premises but only a few lodged complaints because the bullies apparently threatened them with harm should they tell the principal and teachers.
“I read all the school rules for learners and informed them to report any bullying but only a few learners have approached my office. Last year it also happened but we overcame the situation. But this year learners are scared to report,” he said.