The research that this article reports on investigated the incidence of learner discipline problems, the effect of them on teachers, the teachers’ methods of maintaining discipline and the effectiveness of those methods in one township, namely Jouberton in Klerksdorp, South Africa. The experiences of both teachers and learners were surveyed. It was found that discipline at the school is far from satisfactory and problems with discipline are more serious than the international norm indicates. These problems have a serious effect on a large part of the teachers’ family life, personal health, job satisfaction and morale. Whilst both teachers and learners commendably prefer the educationally sound preventive and positive methods of maintaining discipline, the application of these methods appears not to be effective: it seems as if teacher education falls short in the area of maintaining discipline, particularly regarding the successful application of proactive methods of maintaining discipline. Finally, the learners’ views on the maintenance of discipline are an alarming indictment of the principles of democracy, human rights and human dignity, and of rationality as a tool for conflict resolution. Recommendations are made for follow-up research with the objective of amelioration.