The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) in the North West urged newly elected School Governing Bodies (SGB’s) to prioritise school safety in order to eradicate bullying at schools. The Civic organisation described the rising phenomenon as a scourge that accounts for depression among learners, suicide and escalating learner drop out.

“They must be empowered to ensure that reporting mechanisms and disciplinary processes are geared towards dealing decisively with bullying and dysfunctional adopt-a-cop structures urgently reviewed if learner safety is to be guaranteed at our schools,” emphasised SANCO Provincial Chairperson, Paul Sebegoe.

Sebegoe urged parents to be more supportive of their children particularly those going through the adolescence stage.

“Although bullying starts in the elementary stages, it is unbearable for the adolescent learner as it puts them under unbearable pressure. The humiliation and being made public spectacles by their peers’ results in low-self-esteem, bunking of classes, absenteeism as well as underperformance which should be red flags for the observant parent,” he maintained.

He pointed out that Lufuno Mavhungu’s tragic death that shocked the nation was a stark reminder that the worst scenario is loss of precious lives.

Sebegoe highlighted that without parental involvement, learners are coerced into gangsterism in their guest to belong and seek protection.

He expressed concern regarding elections of SGB’s which had to be postponed at some schools in this current reelection phase because parents could not quorate to constitute the required 50+1 quorum.

“Parental involvement in their children’s studies is key to the learning and teaching process without which accountability and discipline are adversely compromised,” he added.

Sebegoe further appealed for maximum participation in the process to democratize and strengthen school governance that was earmarked to be concluded at the end of the month.

“SGB’s like Community Policing Forums (CPF’s) and Health Forums are organs of people’s power that empower citizens to take charge of their shared responsibilities while making meaningful contributions towards addressing challenges facing their communities,” he concluded.