Pinetown Boys’ High has responded to the incidents of bullying at the school, including one in which a pupil was attacked for being gay.

A woman had claimed that her sixteen year old gay son was victimised because of his sexuality and at one point was held by his ankles over a second-floor balcony. She said that the abuse led to a suicide attempt by the pupil.

In response, school governing body Chairman Shawn O’Neil told The Mercury newspaper that the boy had left the school towards the end of 2005 and, according to their records, the boy had been “pushed against a banister”.

“That youngster (the attacker) was punished. His (the victim’s) file has no other records of bullying reported to management,” he said.

In a letter to parents on Thursday, the school said it had dealt with 35 cases of bullying this year. O’Neil said expelling pupils was a last resort.

“We take it very seriously. But it is important to note that we want to rehabilitate both the victim and the bully,” Debra Barr, a member of the governing body, said.

The school said that reports of bullying can e-mailed to the school or principal and can be SMSed to a “Safe School Watch” number.

According to the school, a first offence can lead to a warning and internal counselling, a second offence can result in five days suspension, while a third offence would lead to a recommendation that the pupil be expelled.

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