'Initiation happens anyway'
February 23 2009 at 04:38PM
Many Parktown Boys' High pupils sported purple ribbons this morning in solidarity with fellow pupils and a teacher who were suspended following last week's expose of brutal and violent initiation at the school.
Marc McLean, chairman of the parent body of the Druce Hall - where the initiation took place - had said on Friday that the motivation behind the ribbons should not be read as the boys' agreement with the initiation of other pupils at the hostel.
"You must understand there are 900 boys at the school, and what happened did not affect only the 12 or 14 boys but the entire school. The spirit in the school is so low and the boys are depressed because of this incident," he said.
A Grade 11 pupil, who cannot be named because he was not accompanied by a parent, was not wearing a purple ribbon this morning - but as soon as he arrived at school he rushed to get one.
He said this was to show that the pupils were united during this difficult time. He said the boy who spoke out about initiation at the school should not have done so.
"Initiation happens anyway," he said, adding that it was seen as a learning experience by pupils.
"We are united like never before. No publicity is bad publicity. We've learned from this. This has taught us to stick together. I think it was wrong for that boy to tell his mother," he said.
McLean had stressed that the boys were not in any way saying initiation was good, but that message was intended to uplift their spirits. "It is just to say we are with you (the victims and those who were suspended) and we understand what you are going through," he explained.
Bavinash Pillay, who was with his father Vishnu when he spoke to The Star, said he believed that the violence had to be reported. "I don't mind if they make me do something stupid. It can be anything as long as it doesn't cause (physical) pain," he said.
Parents broke their silence after a mother, Pene Kimber, approached The Star last week.
Her son had told her about the negative initiation.
o This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on February 23, 2009