South Africa

Justice for Lufuno: Limpopo pupil dies by suicide after violent school bullying incident

Johannesburg - A Grade 10 Limpopo schoolgirl who overdosed on prescription pills died by suicide on Monday after she was violently beaten by a fellow pupil at her Mbilwi Secondary School.

In the video of the incident, which has since gone viral on social media, Lufuno Mavhungu, 15, was seen beaten by another Grade 10 pupil who repeatedly slapped her while other schoolgirls cheered on taking a video of the incident.

Despite a video purportedly showing what look likes the aggressor being arrested by police on Tuesday, Limpopo police said no assault case had been opened against her and the Limpopo Department of Education was dealing with the incident at that level.

Limpopo police spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, said police had opened an inquest docket after Mavhungu’s alleged suicide.

In the meanwhile, the education authorities in Limpopo had appointed “learner support agents” to provide emotional support to vulnerable pupils.

The police said Mavhungu was rushed to a hospital at about 6.30pm on Monday night after she allegedly overdosed on pills and locked herself in her room.

“The police received a call from Siloam Hospital that a learner from Mbilwi High School, Lufuno Mavhungu came to the hospital unconscious and was certified dead on arrival.

“The child arrived home from school and alleged that she was beaten up by the other learner. She thereafter allegedly locked herself up in the room and overdosed on pills,” he said.

The police said Mavhungu’s mother found her unconscious in her bedroom and rushed her to the hospital where she died on arrival.

Police are investigating the matter further, he added.

Meanwhile, Limpopo Education MEC Polly Boshielo expressed concern at the bullying incident and was awaiting a formal report about the incident from the school principal.

“It is quite disturbing to witness this level of violent behaviour among young people.

“We strongly condemn such conduct that has turned our schools into horrendous havens of those who have no regard for their peers.

“Bullying is wrong and will never be tolerated in our schools,” said Boshielo.

Boshielo said those who were involved in the bullying incident would face the music.

“It is important that we also capacitate our schools to strengthen enforcement of their code of conduct, especially on such incidents.

“Education is a societal matter, therefore putting the responsibility on all of us to ensure a safe learning and teaching environment," said Boshielo.

Meanwhile, on social media, calls are growing for “#JusticeForBoshielo”.

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