Durban - Isipingo Primary School pupils boycotted class and disrupted teaching, demanding a refund for their cancelled sports day and calling for the principal to vacate his post.
The protest began on the school premises on Monday morning with some allegations that teachers had instigated and coaxed pupils.
Police spokeswoman, Captain Nqobile Gwala, said pupils embarked on the protest, throwing papers and turning over refuse bins.
Four years ago teachers called for the principal, Suresh Karysingh, to step down.
Monday's protest was over the cancellation of a school sports day supposed to have been held on August 18.
The pupils claim they paid R30 towards the sports day. They allege the school also had a disco party and asked pupils to pay R5.
When the day arrived, only Grade 7 pupils were allowed into the party, they said. Those who did not attend the party and those who paid for the sports day are now demanding a refund.
An Education Department official, who cannot be named, said there were many underlying issues that needed to be addressed. He confirmed pupils wanted a refund.
It is alleged the principal had dismissed the school pupils for the day.
When the Daily News arrived, schoolchildren were loitering outside the school premises and some had gone to a nearby park.
Some of the children would have had to wait for their transport to fetch them at the usual pick-up time of 2pm.
More than a dozen police officers were on the school premises. The pupils were then allowed back into the school out of safety concerns.
Police and Basic Education Department officials said the pupils were very rude towards them.
Education should not be disrupted, said eThekwini Ward 90 councillor, Sunil Brijmohan, who was at the school to address pupils.
“There is protocol to follow and channels for them to air their grievances. We are here to assist. We held a meeting with the principal and the SGB (school governing body)to come up with an amicable solution,” he said.
Brijmohan said he visited the school at 10.30am after speaking to a pupil on the road.
“It seems to me that there are two groups of teachers represented by unions, and some teachers are using the children in their defence.
“I then, through a department representative, asked all children to come back into school where learning can take place,” Brijmohan said
“The SGB chair and his components are not attending to any schooling issues and some interventions need to be taken because I will not allow pupils to be used by teachers in their personal glory,” he said.
The school would meet parents at 1pm on Tuesday to address the issues, said provincial department spokesman, Muzi Mhlambi.
In January 2012, the Daily News reported that Karysingh was locked in a room at the district office in Berea by disgruntled teachers accusing him of financial mismanagement and being a dictator. He was released after education authorities intervened.
The next day, Karysingh and a SGB member were locked in by the disgruntled teachers at the school. Police were called in to free them.
Karysingh told officials in 2012 that when teachers came to school and did not want to teach, that is when he would cross swords with them.
“There is no confusion when it comes to this and I think this is why some of them are disgruntled,” he said at the time.