High school prank goes fatally wrong

By Drum Digital
19 February 2015

Lerato Malekutu was part of a typical school prank that, in her case, unfortunately turned fatal.

The 17 year-old high school pupil was about to sit when her classmate is said to have pulled the chair from under her.

According to The Star newspaper, the Thokoza teenager fell, hitting the back of her head on the floor.

Lerato then started to tremble, struggling to breathe. Her eyes were rolled back into her sockets.

Her friends thought she was pretending to have been badly hurt and laughed at a shaking Lerato.

Known to be someone who has occasional fits, nobody paid attention to Lerato’s assumed episode. But after a long time on the floor, classmates began to panic.  “The girl who had pulled Lerato’s chair became scared. There was chaos in the classroom as people tried to revive Lerato,” a pupil said.

Lerato was moved to the sickbay as paramedics were called in. As they arrived, they declared Lerato dead.


According to the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996:

  • Every learner has the right to freedom and security of his or her person, which includes the right to be free from all forms of violence or assault, and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

  • No principal, educator or learner may allow or participate in any act or practice which involves initiation practices or may cause or contribute to the humiliation, degradation, harassment, assault, crimen injuria, intimidation or maltreatment of learners.

  • There should be a relationship of mutual trust and respect between learners, and between learners and educators. Victimisation of the one by the other is unacceptable, and peer pressure cannot be regarded as a justification for engaging in acts of victimisation.

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