"No f...ING comment," said the pupil from Northview High School - taking a smoke with his mates - when asked why he was not in class.
Hewas with more than 100 pupils from Waverly Girls High, Northview High and Highlands North High who congregated on the corner of Louis Botha Avenue and Athol Road in Balfour Park, Johannesburg.
The students were gathered on both sides of the street at 8am, chatting and smoking, when even more children joined the motley throng.
When they noticed our photographer, three pupils from Highlands North High, puffing on their cigarettes, asked why she was taking their pictures.
"We are late for school. You cannot take photos of us chilling here. F... off," said one boy.
He said they would get into trouble with their parents.
A Grade 11 pupil, who introduced himself as the "Devil's Brother", said he was "always" late for school.
"I miss the first period every day," he boasted.
His friend "Stickzo" blamed the bus drivers' strike and said this was the first time he was late for school.
"I live in Midrand and because there are no buses there was a long queue at the taxi rank."
Solomon Mosana, a taxi driver, said he often tried to chase away girl pupils from gathering on the street because his daughter attended Waverley Girls High.
"They are rude, they insult me and say I am not their father."
He said the pupils smoked openly in public and were also targeted by drug dealers.
The pupils reportedly moved to their intersection spot after being banned from the nearby Balfour Park shopping centre.
A security guard at the centre said the pupils were banned because they bunked school and loitered in the mall's corridors.
Nanagolo Leopeng, of Gauteng's education department, said officials "knew all about the problem".
She said the department had instructed school principals to get their staff to order the pupils into classes rather than have them loitering in the streets outside.
The principals of Northview High and Waverley Girls High did not respond to requests comment on the behaviour of their pupils.