Durban school’s YouTube shame - Institution’s reputation for academic excellence marred by violence

2013-10-25 00:00

A DURBAN school’s reputation for academic excellence is being surpassed by its reputation for schoolyard violence, which is so common that there’s even a compilation video on YouTube.

Since 2010, brawls, bullying and violence at the school have gone viral.

The latest cellphone footage, captured by a pupil last week and posted on East Coast Radio’s website, shows a Grade 11 pupil punching and stomping his classmate to the ground.

In the video two boys, who had apparently been involved in a disagreement a few days before, are involved in a fight.

The incident happened last Friday at around 7 am on the school grounds.

The video became an instant hit on the Internet but YouTube has since taken it down.

The school’s principal has promised to deal with bullying and violence, which management believe stems from the social ills prevalent in the community.

Last year, the school achieved a 97,2% matric pass rate.

This week, UKZN awarded scholarship vouchers to 28 Kharwastan Secondary Grade 12 pupils to the value of R20 000 each for their studies next year.

The school held a tribunal with both the pupils in the latest video and their parents on Wednesday.

Headmaster Vic Pillay said both parties admitted that they were guilty and both pupils were suspended.

Pillay said if the pupils violate the school’s code of conduct again they will face consequences as recommended by the Department of Education.

Meanwhile, the school is currently trying to track down the pupil who recorded the video.

Pillay said they have names of the suspects.

Pillay’s office walls are adorned with academic certificates and sport trophies.

“We take this issue seriously. We’re a school of excellence,” he said, adding that he was concerned that the video had gone viral.

He admitted that bullying was a common phenomenon at schools. “It is impossible to completely eradicate but we’ll try to control it.”

The headmaster believes that society needs to deal with social ills, which he thinks are the root cause of violence in schools.

He said pupils mimicked what happened in their homes, lashing out at each other, while others are influenced by what they watch on TV.

Pillay said the school will reinforce good values through its Life Orientation classes and will be running parenting workshops.

On Tuesday, YouTube disabled the video posted on East Coast Radio’s website after it was flagged by a user.

ECR spokesperson Lauren Holley said in an e-mail that upon review “[YouTube] determined that the video contained content in violation of their community guidelines and disabled it”.

ECR has since appealed this decision on grounds of its being part of a bigger news story about the serious problem of violence in South African schools and said the station ensured that the identities of the pupils involved have been protected.

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