Class war breaks out in virtual middle England

Rival schools from either side of the tracks at centre of flaming row

Pupils from rival schools in the genteel cathedral city of Ely appear to have become embroiled in an online slanging match. They are using a Web site aimed at attracting tourists to the area to publish their hate mail. For the last two weeks the message board at Ely On-line has been turned into a virtual battleground between posh fee-paying pupils at The Kings School and the kids from the local City of Ely Community College. Instead of being a place for visitors and local people to post their comments about this historic Cambridgeshire city it became a seething pit of class division and mutual loathing. At the height of the flame war teachers from both schools were defamed although it's unclear at the moment whether those involved will seek legal redress. The police have not been called in to investigate the matter, a spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said. No doubt one of Ely's most famous sons -- the revolting Oliver Cromwell -- would have revelled in this most modern uprising. But spokesman Martin Horrocks of the Kings School said it had still not been proven that pupils from both colleges had been involved. "There is some evidence that aliases have been used and we're trying to trace those people involved," he said. Upset that the "public reputation" of the colleges and the city had been "held to ransom" Horrocks was unsure why the editor of the Web site hadn't taken action sooner to stamp out the flame war. But Lee Gillett, editor of the site appeared unconcerned by the whole affair saying it had been blown out of all proportion by the media. (Does he mean us? Ed.) "It's just a few kids swearing at each other, that's all, " said Gillett. ®

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