Chaos at Riverlea school

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

A fight between two schoolboys caused chaos at Riverlea Secondary School in Johannesburg yesterday when pupils boycotted classes and parents demonstrated outside the premises.

The fracas was a sequel to the suspension of a coloured pupil after a fight with a black schoolmate a week ago.

The two pupils fought at the school last Wednesday in what was initially described as a racial attack. The 17-year-old Grade 9 coloured pupil was suspended, and that seemed to have sparked the demonstration.

The coloured pupil's mother, Elaine Cero, said: "I came to the school today to find out why my son was suspended. The fight was last week and I was not informed of the decision until this morning.

"I am not going to say the fight was racial. It was just two boys fighting. My son told me that three African boys attacked him in front of the toilet. After the break, he went out and fought with one of them."

After meeting principal Hilton Arendse yesterday, Cero told Sowetan the headmaster said it was her son's fault that there was a demonstration.

"How can he put the blame on my son alone? I asked to see both boys because I am a parent and I need to understand why they fought," she said.

School governing body (SGB) member Dick Ndou said: "According to the pupils, it is a racial thing, but as the SGB we think there is a bigger issue. It is more than just a fight between a black and coloured pupil."

Police who were deployed to keep order at the school locked the gates and ordered both parents and pupils to disperse.

But the parents refused to leave and screamed: "Ons soek ons kinders. Maak oop die hekke. - We want our children. Open the gates."

Arendse then addressed the parents and said they must jointly find solutions to the problems and avoid violence.

Langlaagte police spokesman Captain William Mpondo said: "Both boys have been arrested. They have opened cases of assault against each other. They will appear in court soon."