A 17-year-old St Kevin's College pupil who allegedly cut a fellow pupil with a knife on school grounds yesterday faces an assault charge.

Police were called to the Taward St school about 10.25am after the pupil was involved in an altercation with another 16-year-old pupil.

It is alleged the 17-year-old took the weapon, a pocket knife, to school with him because he feared he would be attacked by the other pupil involved.

When the victim approached the pupil, the latter presented the pocket knife in an attempt to scare him.

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The victim did not back down and the pupil allegedly grabbed him by the lapel of his jacket with his free hand before he pushed him away, which resulted in a small cut to the victim's hand.

The pupil was arrested and charged with assault.

He will appear in the Oamaru District Court on July 18.

A call to the school was not immediately returned.