Palmview Secondary School pupils beat a 13-year-old pupil from Woodview Secondary School.
Palmview Secondary School pupils beat a 13-year-old pupil from Woodview Secondary School.

School ‘gangsters’ face disciplinary action, police probe

By Charlene Somduth Time of article published Oct 28, 2017

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Durban - At least 10 school pupils whose “gangster-style” behaviour, captured on video, went viral on social media over the past week, are in hot wate

POST has established that six, from Palmview Secondary School in Phoenix, are expected to appear before a disciplinary tribunal today and face possible expulsion.

They were filmed beating another pupil on the roadside at a local shopping centre. 

The assault, together with a fight involving two girls from Solvista Secondary School, also in Phoenix, is being investigated by police and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.

While schoolyard and roadside brawls are nothing new, the advent of cellphone cameras has taken them to another level.

POST has also learnt that pupils who take footage of fights in school could face sanctions.

“Cellphones are not allowed at school at all. Pupils duck and dive and bring them in and when we have inspections they are hidden,” said Solvista principal DR Naidoo.

“But the recording of videos seems to be a fashion trend because the pupil who records and uploads the video gets a lot of hits on YouTube and other social media sites.”

Naidoo declined to comment on the fight at his school.

The video shows a pupil removing her earrings as she confronts another girl, asking her, “Why are you following my boyfriend on Instagram?”

Seconds after she tells her she will beat her up, both girls are seen pulling hair, exchanging fist blows and ultimately fighting on the floor, while boys can be heard cheering them on until a teacher breaks up the fight.

Naidoo said such fights were not common at his school.

“We address issues like bullying and school fights with our pupils all the time. Our teachers have open-door policies whereby any pupil can approach them to talk about whatever issue is bothering them,” he said.

“We patrol and keep an eye on our pupils all the time, and now this video has gone viral and it is putting the school in a bad light,” Naidoo said.

According to a school source, one of the girls was questioned by police last week after the parents of the 15-year-old victim preferred a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

“Police are also trying to track down the person who can be heard saying, ‘Punch her in the face’ for inciting violence, and they are doing interviews to find the person who recorded the video as well.”

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed a case had been opened after the parents viewed the video online.

In the incident involving Palmview Secondary, the video shows a group of boys kicking and punching a Woodview pupil until he falls down in the road. In the background, other pupils can be heard swearing and cheering on the fight.

The fight is brought to an end when two motorists get out of their vehicle to intervene.

Mervyn Reddy, deputy chairperson of Palmview’s governing body, said the matter had already been dealt with.

“We suspended all pupils involved in this gangster-style of behaviour the day after this assault took place.”

Woodview Secondary declined to comment.

Education department spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the recent fights were disturbing.

“The worrying factor is that parents are silent on these issues and in most cases, instead of enforcing discipline, they come to their children’s defence.”

Mahlambi said parents needed to stop relying on the schools and the department to discipline their children, and take matters into their own hands.

Vee Gani, chairperson of the KZN Parents Association, said pupils caught exchanging blows should be expelled from school and also given a criminal record if convicted in court.

“It seems most kids don’t care about being filmed and about letting their reputation slide. They are more like hooligans, disgracing themselves and their family in the open,” he said.

“Schools need to adopt a zero tolerance when it comes to violence in school, or pupils who are found fighting should be sent to another school, where they will be taught how to behave around others, and we can reintegrate them back at their school thereafter.”

Read:  Violence in schools - where have we gone wrong?

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