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Orewa College assaults: 'Our kids are seeing this all the time'

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 May 2022, 10:52am
A still from a video showing one of the brutal assaults at Orewa College. Photo / Supplied via RNZ
A still from a video showing one of the brutal assaults at Orewa College. Photo / Supplied via RNZ

Orewa College assaults: 'Our kids are seeing this all the time'

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 May 2022, 10:52am

By Jonty Dine of RNZ

Parents of Orewa College students are concerned for their safety after two brutal assaults surfaced online.

Two students were suspended and have now been excluded from the school.

Two other students have also been suspended and are to face a Board of Trustees disciplinary hearing.

The school held a meeting for parents and caregivers on Wednesday to discuss solutions to the spate of violence.

The online videos showed students being beaten while on the ground.

One parent, who did not want to be named, said they were not isolated incidents.

"I was quite horrified and sickened by it. I was quite concerned how desensitised my 13 and 16-year-old children are to these kinds of things.

"By all accounts our kids are seeing this all the time, on school buses, and after school and that is the concern."

The school held a meeting for parents and caregivers on Wednesday night to discuss the troubling footage.

"Going to school and being safe is a basic right as a student and if we are at that grassroots level of having to worry about that then you start worrying about the academic side and everything that comes with the repercussions," the parent said.

Most parents were willing to work with the school but they needed to see some concrete action to prevent further assaults, she said.

"I think I initially walked into that meeting concerned they did not take out concerns seriously enough, I walked away thinking they have heard the message loud and clear, now it's up to them to put their money where their mouth is."

Students were not willing to speak out against these assaults as they did not want to be seen as snitches, she said.

"I think the students particularly these ones that aren't living up to the values of the school need to see that the school is 100 per cent serious about getting on top of it and if that means bringing in some extra security in the way of security police or whatever is needed."

The woman said she wanted to see more cameras around the school.

"Teachers can't be in every place at once and that's not their job. Teachers probably aren't feeling 100 per cent safe either."

Principal 'horrified'

Orewa College principal Greg Pierce said he was deeply disturbed by the videos.

"Like any parent I was horrified that that level of violence can be seen in any environment involving teenagers."

Pierce said he had seen the number of violent assaults increase over recent years.

There were a number of factors contributing to the rise in violence and the school was taking measures to reduce it, such as shortening the lunch hour, having more senior staff in the field, and inviting guest speakers to preach an anti-bullying message, he said.

"We will be having a follow-up to the community meeting and the board will continue to work in consolation with police."

The school had offered ongoing support for the victims of the assaults, Pierce said.

Senior Sergeant Roger Small of Waitematā North Police said a 14-year-old was referred to Youth Aid following the assault at Orewa College.

Inquires into the second assault are ongoing.

Police were concerned by the violence shown in the videos and continued to ask the community to cease sharing footage any further, he said.

Orewa College and other schools will on Friday mark Pink Manaaki Day, which raises awareness of anti-bullying.