Durban - A school governing body that became fed-up with playground brawls has landed itself in trouble for allegedly assembling the boys on the school grounds and telling them to fight out their issues once and for all.
The melee that ensued at Sea Cow Lake Secondary was captured in a minute-long video uploaded on to YouTube by a pupil.
The description of the video, which was uploaded on May 12, reads “Sea Cow Secondary School children where (sic) told to carry on fighting by the schools governing body and the principle (sic) was watching everything”.
The graphic video shows pupils forming rings around their classmates on the school field as at least seven fights happen simultaneously.
The pupils kick, punch and push each other as excited classmates egg them on, screaming: “Hit him, hit him boy. Yes, that’s it!”
One of the boys grabs another in a headlock, refusing to let go.
The video ends abruptly as two of the fighting boys fall into the crowd, which forces them to part.
Speaking about the fight, a Grade 10 pupil said she was unsure of the reason. “I arrived a bit late… Someone told us the SGB was involved and told the boys to fight.
“The whole school stood and watched the fight, even the principal. It was funny to see,” she said.
Her friend said as far as she knew the boys had not been punished. “School is normal, there have been no more fights. But the boys from opposite sides keep threatening to fight again after school but nothing has happened.”
Education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said he was not aware of the incident but would be investigating. “I will alert the MEC and HOD about this video. We are going to zoom into this school because we cannot allow things like this to happen. Action will be taken,” he said.
“Children need to realise these fights are serious. It is not a movie they are filming. Kids die from this. We are burying children because of violent school fights.”
He blamed a website that encourages pupils to send them schoolyard brawls for payment. “This website is to blame. There is no other reason for this behaviour being recorded. We, as the department, are behind the site being removed.”
School governing body chairman Khalu Ngwane hung up on being questioned about the SGB’s involvement in the school fight.
Principal Wolaganathan Ponnen could not be reached for comment.
Ward councillor Deochand Ganesh said he was not aware of the incident or of any conflict between pupils in the school.
Vee Gani of the KZN Parents Association said if these allegations were true it was worrying. Children could not be encouraged to fight as violence was not the answer.
“Every child deserves to be protected. I find it hard to believe the principal stood there and watched the fights happening. He is charged with maintaining the integrity of the school and protecting pupils.”
Gani said bullying in schools is becoming a problem.
“Parents need to understand that instilling discipline in their children is not the responsibility of the school. Children go to school to learn. Too much time is spent out of the classroom and dealing with disciplinary processes to the detriment of the other children in the classroom.”
Sea Cow Lake Secondary is no stranger to controversy.
The school made headlines last year after pupils were caught allegedly practising satanism.
Pupils reported strange events at the school involving girls banging their heads against the wall, screaming uncontrollably and vomiting up blood, and being pulled down the stairs by their hair by unknown forces.
In 2010 the school made headlines after reported drug-dealing at the school and the stabbing of a 16-year-old pupil on the premises.
Security measures implemented included the issuing of identity cards for pupils, patrols by parents and random searches.
Lessons were cancelled in 2004 after teachers wouldn’t teach, saying pupils were terrorising them.
Six Grade 10 pupils allegedly disrupted classes, drank on the premises, smoked, stole and threatened teachers.
The “gang” reportedly made a teacher pull up her blouse so they could remove a hidden cellphone. They threatened to kill a male teacher who tried to stop them.
The gang reportedly also fought with another pupil.