The suicide of a 16-year-old Eastern Cape student this week has brought bullying back into the spotlight. Lathitha Nako, a grade 10 student at Bhisho High School, died in hospital on Wednesday after swallowing a pesticide.
Her heartbroken family is demanding that bullying in schools be addressed in order to avoid future tragedies.
She spoke openly about the bullying she faced on social media platforms before her death.
She is speaking out and telling the world what she is going through, including her thoughts on suicide. Then there's carrying it out. That, however, was not the person her family was familiar with.
Lathitha Nako aspired to be a physician. Her family had high expectations, but they were dashed by tragedy.
"My heart is heavy because I will never see Lathitha again; I will only see her in pictures," Mother Kholeka Nako says. My heart will continue to hurt. Bisho High School has been declared a failure. I have a hard time sleeping."
Calls are coming in from all directions to figure out what's going on.
According to Petros Majola of the Khula Community Development Project, a program to prevent bullying in schools must be developed.
"Let us sit down and devise a program to address school bullying." We are aware that they have policies of their own, but we are not convinced that they are vocal about these policies."
The circumstances surrounding her suicide are also being investigated by the Provincial Department of Education.
Vuyiseka Mboxela, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Education, says an urgent investigation is underway.
"There must be an urgent investigation tomorrow; there will be a meeting that will look holistically into this learner and then issue a directive; and there will be a multidisciplinary committee because there are others outside the department who are interested in this matter."
In addition, social workers will be stationed at the school to assist students.
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