She was once a loving‚ sweet and happy child‚ but now she suffers from anxiety and stress after being bullied over three terms at a primary school in Cape Town.
The excitement of starting “big school” soon turned into a nightmare for her family.
“This was supposed to be the best year in school for her and she had to go through all of this. How do we‚ as parents‚ help?” her mother asked‚ adding that teachers at the school had done nothing about the situation.
Kate* is one of many parents who are approaching Bikers Against Bullying South Africa‚ an initiative to assist and help those suffering at the hands of bullies.
“The campaign is to become friends of the schools across South Africa and help them to fight bullying within their institutions‚” the organisation’s national vice-president‚ David Kolm‚ said.
Six-year-old Bella* started telling her mother that she did not want to go to school. She complained that she had no friends and‚ at times‚ would sit alone during lunch breaks.
“It just got worse and worse after that. This child gave my daughter popcorn and told her if she wants to be their friend‚ she must eat the popcorn — and then she spat on the popcorn.”
The 38-year-old woman said her daughter was also hit twice during a physical training class.
She said she had received a call from a Grade 3 parent to ask if her child was alright. The parent told her that the child who was bullying Bella had had her hand around her daughter’s throat and face.
Kate had a meeting with the school‚ where it emerged that Bella had been suffering since the start of term one.
“In the meeting‚ the teacher said that this child would kick my daughter under the table. She insulted her about her hair colour and called her a baby‚ and that she can’t read or she is stupid.
“The teacher said it could get so bad that she couldn’t take it anymore. Why did the teacher never tell us about this?
“I don’t even recognise my child anymore‚” said Kate.
“The one night I broke down and didn’t even know how to comfort my own child after she told me can she please have cancer so that she can die because she doesn’t belong in this world.
“She said to me one day‚ why must she believe in God and why must she pray because if God loved her‚ why would he make someone who would hurt her like that.”
The six-year-old‚ who now sees a psychologist‚ has since been taken out of school and is being home-schooled.
“I feel like the worst mother in the world. I feel that I am a bad mother because I could not protect my child against this bully‚” she said‚ urging all parents to stand up against bullying.
Kolm said his organisation aimed to help schools that did not have the correct procedures in place to deal with bullying.
“Those institutions that don’t have bullying policies in place and those that are struggling with bullying in their schools‚ we would like to help to get the right bullying procedures in place.
“We are sending out a clear message that bullying is not okay. At the same time‚ we are also extending a helping hand to the bully. We understand that kids use bullying as a method of venting. There might be abuse by parents at home‚ alcohol abuse or substance abuse‚ or whatever the case might be‚” Kolm said.
He said the organisation also had life coaches available to help bullies and their victims.
“There is this stigma about bikers. People see leathers jackets and bikes‚ and then they think we are there to cause trouble‚ but that is not what we stand for.”
Kolm said everything Bikers Against Bullying did was by the book.
Note: Kate* and Bella* are not their real names.
Iavan Pijoos- TimesLIVE