Pietermaritzburg police arrested 34 pupils from Eastwood High School after end-of-year school celebrations turned violent.
The pupils, aged between 14 and 20 went on the rampage, allegedly stoning the teachers’ cars, throwing condoms filled with urine and excrement at the school building and injuring one pupil who had to be rushed to hospital in the process.
The pupils appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Eighteen of the pupils – who are believed to be 18-years-old or over – were remanded into custody pending a bail hearing on Monday.
Those that were under 18-years-old were released into their parents care.
Police spokesperson, Captain Thembeka Mbhele said that the Mountain Rise police and officers from the Public Order Police responded to complaints of disruptive behavior at the school on Tuesday.
“On arrival, there was a large crowd of people in school uniform and civilian dress on the school premises. The crowd was engaging in unruly behaviour. Management and staff confirmed to the police that the crowd was consisting of matriculates and other pupils from the school,” Mbhele said.
She said pupils were asked to stop but refused.
“Some still continued to throw condoms containing excrement, urine, eggs, stones and milk. The school building was damaged as well as private vehicles of educators. Educators and other learners were also being hit with these items. A learner was injured on the hand with a sharp object, alleged to be a knife, and was rushed to the hospital for medical assistance,” Mbhele said.
Police were eventually able to bring the situation under control and arrested 34 pupils.
“The arrested suspects were taken to Mountain Rise SAPS where, in terms of the Child Justice Act, the juveniles were released into the custody of their parents and will appear in court as stipulated. Other suspects appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates’ Court (On Wednesday) and were remanded in custody until 23 October 2017 for bail application. The Situation at the school is tense and is being very closely monitored due to death threats against the Educators and the school has received a bomb threat,” Mbhele said.
Sihle Mlotshwa, spokesperson for the Department of Education, said they condemn the pupils’ actions.
“We have found that this is a culture at the school. This is disturbing. We are awaiting reports from the school in this regard. We want to know how the school has allowed this to happen. We want it to stop,” he said.
Mlotshwa added that they want to ensure that the pupils in custody are released in order to prepare for the final examinations next week.
“Regardless of the disciplinary measures to be taken, these pupils still need to write their exams. With that said, this does not mean that they will not be disciplined accordingly,” he said.