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n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Bullying in schools : a general overview
The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the views of learners regarding certain aspects of bullying.
The sample consisted of 207 learners from six primary and secondary schools in District 4, Tshwane South. Most of the respondents were female learners (53.1%) while males constituted 46.9 percent of the sample. Of the respondents, 30.9 percent were from primary schools (Grade 6 : 15.0% and Grade 7 : 15.9%), and 69.1 percent from secondary schools (23.7% in Grade 11). Most of the respondents were black (59.9%), followed by whites (34.4%), coloureds (3.4%) and Indian (2.43%). The survey was conducted during August / September 2002.
Results indicated that learners generally perceived their schools to be safe places. Bullying appeared to be a reality in the daily life of the participants. Most of the scholars observed milder forms of bullying and the most common location reported for peer victimisation was the playground, followed by the classroom and while walking to and from school.
Approximately half of the respondents had been bullied either once or twice a month or once or twice a year. Direct physical assault among the male learners empasised the view that boys are likely to be more violent and destructive in bullying. There were no significant differences regarding how victims felt about the bullying incident; more or less equal numbers of the learners felt mostly angry, or mostly sad and miserable. Most of the victims had not told anyone about their experiences.
The two reasons most commonly endorsed by learners for peer victimisation were to get even (retaliation) and because bullies want to show how tough they are (showing off). It reflects on an important aspect of peer victimisation, namely that bullying is not always the result of provocation by the victim. Although the current study provides a foundation for understanding the bullying problem, the issue merits more intensive research.
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