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Teens speak out on bullying

BULLYING can be defined as a form of ill-treatment that is perpetrated by a senior towards a minor.

BULLYING can be defined as a form of ill-treatment that is perpetrated by a senior towards a minor.


The incident which usually occurs during the period a child is at school has taken centre stage in different schools in the country. The first term of every year usually records the highest rate of bullying in most schools as new students, Form ones and Lower Six enrol at different schools.

Research has shown that bullying has some negative effects on the physical and psychological well-being of those children who fall victim to bullies.

Recently at a local school, Prince Edward High in paricular, two deaths of students were recorded within a period of four months suspected to be linked to bullying.

The first death was of a student who was found dead in a swimming pool last year and last week another student was found lying dead in a basketball court.

Of concern is the fact that both these mysterious deaths are alleged to be a result of foul play by prefects and senior students at the school.

In a similar case at Chinhoyi High School recently, there were also reports of alleged bullying.  Tatenda Christian Rusere, who is the school headboy-cum-child president, was accused of subjecting Form 1 students to four hours of corporal punishment during their induction. Meanwhile, NewsDay Teens conducted a survey in the capital to get a feel of what is actually transpiring in the schools regarding issues of bullying.

Students who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing victimisation, confirmed that prefects too were involved in such unruly behaviour. A Glen Norah 2 High student said prefects at his school were being exemplary when it comes to issues of bullying.

“At my school there are no reports of bullying from our prefects. Nevertheless there is a group of students who go around bullying individuals.

These bullies taunt and tease their targets with others just being students whom they might not like for reasons known to them before physically abusing them,” he said.

A Form Three student at a mission high school for boys said he had not yet been a victim of bullying, but had witnessed it happening to his fellow students.

“Since I enrolled at this school in 2011, I have witnessed scenes of bullying with much of it being from our prefects. I discovered that when it occurs, some students are likely not to say anything or take any action because of fear of becoming the next victims.

“Although there is still a lot of work to be done, I suggest it is so important that the law enforcement agents take a stand in bullying prevention in schools,” he said.

A Form One student from a local girls’ high school said she was shocked when she was harassed by a prefect during her first few days at school as a new student.

“When I first heard stories of bullying from my brothers I thought it only occured at a mixed school or at boys’ high schools only. “Although I was not bullied in a physical way like what boys do, it was indirect form of aggression, rumour spreading and unpleasant manipulating of situations to hurt me in the hostels,” she said.

Another student said: “At our school, prefects can manhandle other students and the victims can not report to the school authorities as they fear to get into more trouble after reporting the case. This habit has created uncomfortable learning environment at school,” he said.

Some parents also confirmed to NewsDay Teens that they have received reports of their children being bullied by some members of the prefect board.

A parent who identified herself as Mrs Khumalo of Westgate, said her child at one point refused to go back to school requesting to be transferred because he was once a victim of bullying by prefects.

“My child is at a boarding school and when the schools were about to open, he was refusing to go back, crying claiming to have been victimised by prefects the previous term.

“This is really bad especially when looking at prefects who in actual fact, are supposed to be controlling and advocating for the eradication of such bad behaviours at school,” said Khumalo.

Madzivanzira, a parent of two students at a local boarding school said: “As parents, we know that in some schools especially the prefects have the mandate to punish, but sometimes they become overzealous and go to extremes.”

Research has shown that children who continually engage in bullying at schools are more likely than others to engage in criminal activities after leaving schools. So to the tormenters, it is wiser to desist from the act as a matter of urgency before it goes beyond redemption.