Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

'Violent attack': Girl bashed in toilet cubicle at school

Sandra Coochie,
Publish Date
Sat, 26 Aug 2023, 9:03AM
A still image from a video showing an assault on a student in the toilets at Katikati College.
A still image from a video showing an assault on a student in the toilets at Katikati College.

'Violent attack': Girl bashed in toilet cubicle at school

Sandra Coochie,
Publish Date
Sat, 26 Aug 2023, 9:03AM

The victim of a “violent attack” by a fellow student inside a toilet stall at Katikati College has been left “traumatised” and “petrified”.

The 14-year-old victim, speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend with permission from her father and caregiver, said she was assaulted earlier this month by a female student who falsely accused her of spreading rumours about a friend.

The August 4 attack involved punching and hair-pulling. Police are investigating. The school says it has taken the matter “very seriously”, student safety and wellbeing are of “utmost importance” and a formal investigation has guided its actions - including its disciplinary procedures.

A caregiver of the victim, who the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend is not naming because of her age and for privacy reasons, said the girl was “emotionally traumatised” by the attack, which resulted in a “blackened eye”, a sore scalp and bruising to her upper body, including down one side of her face.

The victim said just prior to the attack, another student told her a girl at the school wanted to beat her up. The victim was “feeling nervous” and asked a friend if they could sit in the female bathroom at lunchtime to avoid being assaulted.

The victim said as she sat in a locked toilet cubicle she heard another student enter the stall next to hers. That student then climbed up onto the toilet cistern, leaned over the partition wall and challenged her about spreading rumours.

She said there was no warning about what was about to happen next.

“By now a group of girls and boys ... had also entered the bathroom and they were standing outside the toilet stall recording on their phones what was taking place.

“The girl in the stall next to mine then kicked the toilet door open and ... seconds later I was struck [punched] in the face by this girl. I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I had in my mind was don’t fight back, it’ll make it worse.

“There were multiple blows. Next, the hair-pulling began and it felt like this would never end. While this was all happening I could hear the laughter, snickering and comments by [others] in the [attacker’s] group.

“I tried to ask what I had done to deserve a beating but I just got the same response as before.”

A video, obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, shows a female student standing on the toilet cistern and confronting the victim over the top of the second stall.

The attacker, in school uniform, then steps down and stands in front of the next stall before kicking in the door.

She walks inside and stands in front of the victim and gestures at her.

What the attacker said to the victim is unclear in the video but she then laughs and turns towards the others in the bathroom. Some of the group lean in to get a closer look.

The attacker then lunges towards the victim and punches her repeatedly before grabbing the victim’s hair and trying to drag her off the toilet seat.

Someone reaches over to try to pull the attacker off the victim.

A voice on the video is also heard saying: “You’re f****n’ ugly, b****”.

The victim said she also heard one of the girls asking for a recording of the attack.

“After this violent attack, I was too scared to tell the teachers or call [her caregiver] as I was warned ... that if I told anyone it would happen again. "

The victim said she had refused to go back to school because she was “petrified” about further abuse.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone else. It’s been just horrible. It’s affected me in and out of school ... I’m even too nervous to go into town ... ”

Katikati College. Photo / Chris SteelKatikati College. Photo / Chris Steel


The victim’s father echoed his daughter’s concerns.

He said both the college and the police were investigating the assault following formal complaints.

The father said he wanted the school to crack down on bullies and ensure there were serious consequences for all those involved in the “violent bashing”.

He said the video ended up online and a student who watched it forwarded it to the school and to the victim.

“I’m concerned if we allowed our daughter to return to Katikati College, she will remain a target of bullying by fellow students, despite the ... assurance it’s safe for her to return.”

The father said his daughter was now being home-schooled because, from his perspective, the college was unwilling to give him a guarantee this would never happen again.

“We’re very concerned about the emotional toll this attack has had on her.”

The caregiver said there had been a couple of meetings about the assault complaint at the school.

“[Staff member] told me how sorry they were that this had happened and assured me there would be a full investigation and consequences for the students involved.

“I’m waiting to hear back about the outcome of their investigation.

“We were told the school would appoint people to chaperone her [the victim] if she returned to school, but they were not prepared to give us a 100 per cent guarantee she would not be targeted.”

The caregiver said the victim was “petrified” about being targeted again.

“She’s been left pretty emotionally damaged by this whole experience. We need answers why this was even allowed to happen within the school grounds,“ she said.

Katikati police Sergeant Steven Hindmarsh has confirmed a complaint about a student being assaulted was made to the police on August 8.

Hindmarsh said the complaint was being investigated but he was unable to comment on whether charges would be laid at this time.

Katikati College principal Louise Buckleysaid in a written statement: ”... I can confirm there was an incident that took place on the 4th of August that we formally investigated.

“We have taken this matter very seriously as the safety and well-being of our students is of utmost importance to us. We do not tolerate students acting antisocially or violently.

“We also have very high expectations for all of our students to act considerately and appropriately at all times, which includes being ‘upstanders’ rather than ‘bystanders’ to incidents that might happen around them,” Buckley said.

“We can confirm that the formal investigation guided our actions, including our disciplinary procedures. The college’s health and safety policy and behaviour management processes were followed,” she said.

“Staff worked closely with the families of all the students, with counselling offered as well as referral to other services as appropriate. We fully support and encourage matters being reported to the police.

“We remain committed to ongoing discussions with any family to ensure that students are well supported and comfortable in the school environment.”

Sandra Conchie is a senior journalist at the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post who has been a journalist for 24 years. She mainly covers police, court and other justice stories, as well as general news. She has been a Canon Media Awards regional/community reporter of the year.

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you