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Former principal sets record straight on Elon Musk’s 'school bullying' claims

Elon Musk (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Elon Musk (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Published May 13, 2022


For years, the world has believed that Elon Musk was bullied while attending school in South Africa. However, according to former Pretoria Boys High school headmaster, Bill Schroder, there is no evidence that Musk was treated badly.

BizNews obtained a letter from Schroder in which he set the record straight on Musk's time at the prestigious school.

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"It is well documented in a number of biographies that Elon was bullied and an unhappy schoolboy in a school in Johannesburg and was moved to Pretoria Boys High in Grade 10. There is no evidence that he was poorly treated at Boys High and when he matriculated, he went to Canada where his mother was living," the letter stated.

In 2015, Musk's father, Errol allegedly contacted BizNews after it published an article about Ashlee Vance's biography, 'Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future."

Musk senior reportedly told BizNews that he could not recognise his son after he was attacked. However, he was assaulted at a different Gauteng high school and not Boys High. Following the incident, he was moved to Boys High.

Schroder also addressed claims that Musk had made donations to the school, demanding that it be a once off and they never contact him again.

According to Schroder's letter, Musk had donated to the school on many occasions.

"It is true that Elon Musk did, at my request, give a donation for R1 million. What is not true is that he disliked the country or the school so intensely that he told me not to approach him again," the letter stated.

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Schroder said he lost contact with Musk's personal assistant and when they reconnected, " new network for consideration of donations had been put in place..."

Schroder said it was upsetting that the amount of Musk's donation was leaked.

"I did the fundraising alone with the help of my secretary of 20 years and one of the bases of the fundraising was that the amount of a donation was treated in the strictest confidence. I only targeted alumni and close friends of the school and believe that our success in raising R32 million in four years was based on the confidentiality factor.

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"Until the publication of this article, the only thing a member of the Pretoria boys high community would know is that Elon Musk did donate as his name appears on a donor board together with his year group, making no differentiation between some who gave R100 or R1million," the letter stated.