The purpose of this qualitative, descriptive study was to obtain insight into how Grade 9 learners (average age of 15 years) in a secondary rural school conceptualise school violence. The study was framed by a social constructionism paradigm, focusing on the co-construction of knowledge and meanings by the researcher and participants through personal engagement. Bronfenbrenner‟s Bioecological Theory of Human Development, operationalised by the Process-Person-Context-Time Model, provided a theoretical grounding for the inquiry. An instrumental case study design was followed, whereby nine Grade 9 learners (4 boys and 5 girls) in a rural secondary school participating in an academic service learning project were conveniently selected as the unit of study. Qualitative data from a focus group and task-based activities were transcribed, whilst participant observations were documented in a research journal through photographs. Constructivist grounded theory principles guided the thematic analysis. Three primary themes emerged: Violence as behaviour; Violence as experience and Power and authority. Findings indicate that school violence was perpetuated by both peers and teachers, in physical and verbal forms. Corporal punishment continued to be a prevalent strategy for maintaining discipline and authority within the school. It was also evident in the findings that learners differentiated between acts of school violence and play-fighting according to the intentions and responses of those involved. Contradictory sentiments regarding the acceptability of school violence emerged. On the one hand participants wanted school violence to stop, describing it as hurtful. However, they also expressed views that when used by someone in authority for the purpose of discipline or protection, school violence was appropriate and acceptable. Therefore, the current study suggests that participants view school violence in a duplicitous role – used negatively to cause harm, but also positively to enforce order and protect. This study contributes to literature by providing youth-generated conceptualisations of school violence.