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Johannesburg - Disciplinary proceedings against pupils who pricked their classmates with syringes resulting in 28 of them having to be administered anti-retroviral and post exposture prophylaxis have begun, the Gauteng Department of Education said on Wednesday.

"The SGB [school governing body] has commenced with a disciplinary process against the perpetrators. A police case has been opened against the owner of the syringes," the department said in a statement.

According to the department a pupil had brought the syringes to school and together with two friends started pricking their fellow pupils last week.

"According to the family of the said learner, she used her sister’s bag and only realised when she was in class that there were needles in the bag," the statement said.

"The school informed parents of approximately 28 pricked learners, and advised them to rush their children to medical practitioners for urgent necessary medical attention."

The department said the affected pupils were receiving counselling.

The learners were administered anti-HIV drugs, after which some pupils reacted negatively to the medication.

Parliament's portfolio committee on basic educations said it was shocked by the incident. 

The committee appealed to medical companies and members of the community to dispose of syringes and other medical waste in a responsible manner.